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Chislehurst woman jailed after £5m wine investment scam
A CHISLEHURST woman has been jailed for almost four years for her involvement in a £5 million wine investment scam.
Dina Snelling, of Invicta Close, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court yesterday (October 9) to three years and 11 months after being found guilty of two counts of conspiring to defraud.
Along with her brother, Daniel Snelling, the 35-year-old scammed more than 100 victims by using a sales team to cold-call members of the public and promote two promising wine investment schemes.
The pair launched Nouveau World Wines Ltd in June 2007 and Finbow Wines Ltd two years later.
Nouveau World Wines Ltd investors were told their money would be spent on Australian wines which would be stored in Australia before being sold on for great profit two to three years later.
Finbow Wines Ltd investors were told they were purchasing Italian wine which would be shipped to China, South Africa and India.
After the victims' appetites were whetted, they were sent high-quality brochures and investment packs before being called back to close deals.
The victims were also sent false receipts and certificates of ownership, claiming the wine had been purchased when in reality only £478,000 was spent on wine.
When victims pressed the Snellings for evidence of their investments, the purchased wine was moved between their accounts to fool them.
They were in the process of moving to a third company, M2M, when police arrested them in March 2010.
Dina Snelling performed the role of office director at the companies.
Daniel Snelling, 38, from Sutton, was sentenced to 17 years in prison last month.
Cousin Rebecca McDonald, 43, from Bexleyheath, who was business development manager and oversaw the day-to-day running of the organisations' bank accounts, was jailed for three years.
Detective Inspector Paul Whatmore, of the Met Police’s fraud squad, said: "Daniel Snelling and his sister went to great lengths to con investors out of their money.
"They set up fake offices for investors to visit in Canary Wharf and Mayfair, and paid for incredibly professional brochures to be designed and printed. By all accounts, the brochures and the certificate of ownership looked like the real deal.
"Sadly for the victims, this was nothing more than a callous family-run plot to dupe them out of thousands of pounds which was spent on nights out, designer clothes, luxury cars and cosmetic surgery.
"Had we not arrested them, the Snellings would have likely gone on to create additional companies and take many more victims' money.
"Anyone who is considering investing money should thoroughly research the companies and individuals they are dealing with - including checking their credentials with Companies House - to ensure that they are reputable and legitimate."
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