A FRADULENT wine company believed to have conned a legitimate Staffordshire firm is being investigated by the county’s police.
Anyone else who has invested in Le Bordeaux Wines Ltd is also being urged to contact Staffordshire Police.
Up to £1 million is believed to have been invested in Le Bordeaux Wines Limited, which was launched on the internet in October 2012 and ran for over a year. It was registered with Companies House in December 2012.
It was based in London in a “virtual office” and encouraged people to invest and/or sell sell wine to the company for it to sell on.
But wines sold to investors did not exist and investors who sold their wine through the company did not receive any money, a Staffordshire Police investigation has established.
It is believed between 20 and 30 people and businesses invested, from as far afield as Hong Kong and Europe. A legitimate Staffordshire-based company was just one of those who fell foul of Le Bordeaux Wines Ltd and they contacted Staffordshire Police last December.
As part of the investigation a 25-year-old man from London has been arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation and conspiracy to defraud. He has been bailed, pending further inquiries, to a date in April.
Investigating officer DC Chris Pope said: “I would like to hear from anyone who has invested in this company, or bought wine from this company, to contact me.
“No matter how much money has been lost it is vital that all those who invested come forward.
“The company’s website is now deactivated and if people try to access it they will be directed to Action Fraud, and ultimately myself.”
Anyone who fears they may have fallen victim to Le Bordeaux Wines Ltd, or who has any contact with the company, should contact DC Chris Pope at Staffordshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 258 of December 9 2013, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy has warned people to beware of the dangers of fraud when large payments are required for purchases on the internet or for investments.
He said: “I would urge constituents to be very careful when making purchases on the internet. Shopping on line is now a very popular, and in most cases, secure, method of shopping.
However, in cases which have been brought to my attention, thousands of pounds have been lost with no prospect of the money being returned. I would urge everyone to always check whether their purchases are covered by some kind of payment protection.
“For example, eBay purchases can be covered by eBay’s payment protection cover, but users should always check that their purchase is protected. Shoppers who don’t get covered most probably won’t get their money back in the event of a fraud.”
“Investors should also be careful, especially when it comes to wine and share investment online. Anyone wishing to invest significant amounts should always get professional advice if they are not confident about the business decisions that they are proposing to make.”