From his luxurious Berkeley headquarters, Fox sold millions of dollars worth of wine he did not have and used the money to buy fancy cars and dates online.
Berkeley is poised to buy the old Premier Cru complex on University and may use it for new City Council chambers and, eventually, affordable housing.
John Fox, who confessed to running a wine Ponzi scheme from his Berkeley store, Premier Cru, was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for his crimes.
John Fox, the former owner of Premier Cru, was not a very good criminal, according to the government, but his cooperation with them may see him served fewer years in prison.
An expert in counterfeiting is concerned that the sale of old bottles and wooden crates from Premier Cru will help wine counterfeiters.
The contents of the Premier Cru office and warehouse in Berkeley will be auctioned off on Saturday, and they reveal much about John Fox, the former owner accused of a Ponzi scheme.
John Fox, a lanky 66-year-old with fading red hair, used to meet scantily-dressed 20-year-olds at least two or three times a week at Artís Coffee on Berkeley’s Fourth Street.
For his combined crimes, John Fox probably faces a maximum of six and a half years in prison and is on the hook to pay $45 million in restitution.
John E. Fox could face as much as 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for defrauding his clients over a period of six years.
The owner of Premier Cru purchased much of his fine wine on the gray market.
The bankruptcy trustee liquidating the wine store Premier Cru has reached a settlement to pay disgruntled customers pennies on the dollar for the wine they purchased but never received.
An analysis of the books of the Berkeley wine retailer shows that it collected $45M in wine orders but had no bottles associated with those orders in its warehouse.