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Owner of Maryland Wine Storage Facility Pleads Guilty to Stealing $550,000 and $1.5 million of Wine from Clients

by Kerana Todorov
May 15, 2019

The owner of a wine storage facility in Maryland pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to stealing $550,000 and $1.5 million worth of wine from clients who had placed the bottles under his care, according to court records and prosecutors.

William “Billy” Lamont Holder, 54, of Hanover, Maryland, sold the wine collectors to wine retailers and brokers nationwide, including Napa, while continuing to collect monthly storage fees and accepting more bottles for storage from wine collectors and commercial clients, federal prosecutors in Baltimore said in a written statement. The crimes occurred between January 2013 and December 2017, according to court records. Holder did not have a license to sell alcohol, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Holder emailed or faxed lists of wine bottles stored at his warehouse to potential buyers. The lists included the asking price, wineries and vintages of the bottles. Holder then boxed and shipped the wine to buyers, along with his bank account information, according to prosecutors. The third-party buyers either paid by check or wired the money to Holder’s bank account, according to the written statement.

Holder, who was indicted in December on multiple felony counts, including wire fraud, told buyers he owned the wine he was offering to sell, according to court records. He was the sole operator of his Glen Burnie storage facility known as “Safe Harbour Wine Storage LLC,” according to court records.

The indictment lists a number of transactions. Court records indicate Holder agreed to sell 932 bottles of wine for $89,772 to one or more unnamed wine brokers in Napa in 2016 and 2017. A retailer in Washington D.C. was offered 92 bottles for $15,000 in November 2017, according to court records.

Holder has agreed to pay restitution under the terms of his plea agreement which he signed May 1, according to court documents. Holder is supposed to be sentenced to 18 months in federal prison under the terms of the agreement, according to prosecutors. US District Court Judge Catherine C. Blake has set sentencing for July 31.

Holder has worked as a Lyft driver while out of custody, according to court records.

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