This post features some excellent investigative work by Don Cornwell, a Los Angeles lawyer with a passion for wine plus investigating scams. Here Don has produced a detailed report into Bordeaux Cellars, whose two principals – Stephen Burton and James Wellesley – were indicted in New York on February 28th 2022 on a number of charges including wire fraud and money laundering with investors allegedly losing close on $100 million:
‘ANOTHER MAJOR WINE PONZI SCHEME EXPOSED — BORDEAUX CELLARS
As many of you may have seen from the recent news reports, two UK citizens, Stephen Burton and James Wellesley (whose real name is Andrew James Fuller), were indicted by the Justice Department on February 28, 2022, in the Eastern District of New York, and are charged with multiple counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering relating to the operation of Bordeaux Cellars (London), Ltd, a UK corporation and Bordeaux Cellars, Limited, a Hong Kong corporation. Bordeaux Cellars claimed to be in the wine brokerage business.
As the indictment explains, which you can find here, https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/press … 1/download, Bordeaux Cellars operated a Ponzi scheme. The story behind Bordeaux Cellars is a pretty extensive and sordid one. The indictment provides a bare bones description of Bordeaux Cellars and its principals. The information below goes well beyond what is included in the indictment. I have been investigating this, and working silently in the background, since early 2020.
While the indictment refers to the Ponzi scheme operating from June 2017 through February 2019, according to a detailed written report prepared by the German accounting firm Otto Geisel in March of 2014, Bordeaux Cellars « was founded in 2009 by Mr Stephen Burton, Mr James Anderson [i.e. Andrew James Fuller, a/k/a « James Wellesley »] and Mr Paul Miller and was originally built up as a trading company. BC [Bordeaux Cellars] acts as a broker for wine loans since September 2011. » (See the chart at the end).’
Read the rest here
In his report Don mentions a Dominic/ Dominick Shelly DOB 29.12.1967:
A third listed partner, according to the March 2014 Otto Geisel Report, was Dominic Shelly. According to the report, Mr. Shelly was principally involved in obtaining the capital needed to operate the business from investors. At that time he also oversaw logistics and ran the company when Stephen Burton was abroad. (As explained above, from 2009 to 2012, « James Anderson » a/k/a James Wellesley and in reality Andrew James Fuller, was apparently living in Singapore, where he had fled to avoid arrest in 2009.) Mr. Shelly’s name disappeared as a listed director of the Bordeaux Cellars entities after 2015.’
To the best of my knowledge Shelly has not been arrested or charged with any offence. He was, however, a director of Bordeaux Cellars Bond 1 plc, one of a number of companies in the ‘Bordeaux Cellars group’ from 15.7.2013 to 28 January 2015. Shelly was then ‘usually resident’ in the Netherlands.
Shelly’s role was described in a report into the operation of Bordeaux Cellars that was produced in March 2014 by Otto Geisel, a German chef who offers a number of services including ‘Your wine independently assessed – Expert services and Consulting’:
Extracts from Otto Geisel report:
‘If the client accepts the conditions, a member of BC will take the wine to BC’s cellar or to a third party storage facility (“custodian”), which is approved by BC. The wines are fully covered by insurance starting from the pickup by BC12. There are three people responsible for logistics – Mr Stephen Burton, Mr Dominic Shelly and Mr Mario Bimaji. Mr S. Burton will usually transport high-end value cases (GBP 10.000 +) in his car. Other wines are transported by BC’s van.’
- a) Bordeaux Cellars | Company Portrait
BC was founded in 2009 by Mr Stephen Burton, Mr James Anderson and Mr Paul Miller and was originally built up as a trading company. BC acts as a broker for wine loans since September 2011. The current collateralized volume is worth approximately GBP 40.000.000. There has not been any default event up to the date of the assessment.
Mr S. Burton is the CEO of the company. He is the only one responsible for the accepted wines. Another partner, Mr Dominick Shelly, is primarily dealing with BC’s corporate bond section, oversees logistics and runs BC when Mr S. Burton is abroad. Mrs Petra Churchill is the personal assistant of Mr S. Burton and responsible for the administration of BC. Further, BC has two part-time consultants, Mr David Sodey and Mr Robert Richards, as well as two part-time logistics employees who support the team during transportation and packing17.
It is noticeable that the Otto Geisel report uses both Dominick Shelly and Dominic Shelly.
Dominic/ Dominick Shelley – directorships
UK Companies House lists a number of company directorships held by Dominick/Dominic Shelly. All the companies have now been dissolved – Shelly would appear to be a rather unlucky director…
Link Europe Ltd is the first company, which was Incorporated on 1st March 2013 and then dissolved through a compulsory strike off on 14.10.2014 – presumably because the Annual Return wasn’t filed. Here it is Dominick with an address in the Netherlands – 394 Leimuiderdijk, Leimuiderdijk, Noord Holland 2155MT.
Next up is Bordeaux Bond 1 plc as mentioned above – here it is Dominick again and still based in the Netherlands.
There are then three directorships with addresses in Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Barrington Distribution Ltd – Dominick Shelly appointed Director on 14.12.2017. Now Dominick is based in the United Kingdom. The company was incorporated 21.1.2016 and dissolved 27.8.2019 through a compulsory strike off. Next is Bridge Sales Ltd, which was Incorporated 28.8.2018 and then dissolved compulsory strike off 4.2.2020. This time it is Dominic again based in the UK – he was appointed on 8.12.2018. The last company is Limerick Trade Ltd, which was incorporated on 21.8.2018 and then dissolved through compulsory strike off 28.1.2020. Again it is Dominic based in the UK – appointed as a director on 11.1.2019.
Doubtless there will be further developments in this case.
Une réflexion sur “Bordeaux Cellars – ‘Ponzi’ + Dominick/Dominic Shelly”
Ping : Lo schema Ponzi di Bordeaux Cellars | Storie del Vino