WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – A Kansas man is behind bars after police say he was heading up a multi-state fake wine distribution.
Investigators arrested James “Jimmy” Hall in Wichita, saying he was illegally purchasing wine from vineyards, and not paying for it.
There were multiple victims in this case. One of the victim’s we talked to was from Napa, California, where they say thousands of dollars’ worth of expensive wine was stolen.
It was at Jayhawk Beverage Distributors in Wichita, that Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control agents arrested Jimmy Hall, Friday.
Hall was charged with forgery, identity theft, making false information, along with obtaining an ABC license by fraud and distributing alcohol liquor without a license.
ABC agents told us they recovered approximately $70,000 worth of contraband and evidence at the scene.
Two of hall’s victims ran vineyards in Napa, CA. Michael Quinn was one of those. He owns Michael Scott Wines. Quinn explained communication before the sale seemed normal, but it was when the 58 cases of wine worth $8,500 were sent to Hall, and the payment never came, things started to seem fishy.
“He had some excuses and after a while he just stopped communicating altogether,” Quinn explained.
Quinn says in a business like this, there has to be a lot of trust when selling to people like Hall. But, this incident put him a little on edge.
“You don’t expect people to treat you like that. You do everything on your end and you expect them to do it on their end. And when they don’t, this is what happens,” he said.
Victims like Quinn believe Hall was getting wine from vineyards like his, never paying for it, and then selling the wine.
Quinn also told us, he’s not the only victim.
“I got a hold of some of the other wineries and they were having really the same story I was,” Quinn recalled.
Authorities say another winery, Prolific Beverage, sold Jimmy 24 cases of wine for more than $7,000 and just like with Quinn, the money never came.
Agents are currently working with police from Kansas and California to find out who else might have fallen victim to this fraud.
Since the crimes happened in multiple states, he could be charged in either state or federal court.
If convicted of federal crimes, he could serve time 10 years or more in federal prison.