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A DC wine collector’s first-hand account of how wine storage fraudster put him “out of business”

NOTE: This company was located in Maryland and has no connection to Safe Harbor 3.0 in Napa County.


The following is from a single post from a collector describing what he lost because of William Holder’s fraud at Safe Harbor Wine Storage.

 

The entire thread offers a chilling tale of trust betrayed. It also shows why collectors should follow sites such as Wine Berserker.

 

All text below is a direct, unedited quote (bullets and paragraph spacing added for readability) from a single post.

 

Go to Wine Berserker and read for yourself the sordid the details: FEDERAL INDICTMENT – Safe Harbour Wine Storage and Bill Holder – CRIMINAL

 

 


 

#1 Post by Todd Laubach » July 12th, 2018, 1:30 pm
I want to thank the 2 people on this board that reached out to me. If you currently have wine stored at the facility, I urge you to immediately contact an attorney to get your wine back or what is left of it.

 

76 cases or 912 bottles in storage. Total wine delivered 153 bottles. That is correct, he completely wiped us out. He replaced some of the cases with cheap bottles of wine. My brother and I foolishly did not have insurance so a total loss.

 

This is what Bill stole from us. We have been on the Rhys list since the beginning. He wiped us out of all of our Rhys from 2006 – 2013, All Bordeaux from 2003-2005, a lot of Pegau and Clos Des Papes, Barolo, Karl Lawrence, Outpost.

 

Unfortunately, we have young families and are not in the position to replace the wine. We are officially out of the wine collecting business.

 

Our guess based on information we have is that Bill has sold the wine to merchants across the United States and they are either unknowingly or knowingly selling stolen goods. He has no documentation for provenance so the wine merchants had to be suspicious but probably turned a blind eye.

 

  • Bordeaux 191 btls
  • CDP/N .Rhone 116 btls
  • California Cab 43 btls
  • Rhys 212 btls
  • Arcadian 33 btls
  • Saxum 25 btls
  • Italian 60 btls

 

If you are interested, here is a brief summary.

 

There is a lot more detail that I have left out. My brother and I have had our wine stored at Safe Harbour since 2010. It had been uneventful until the last year or so.

 

We always had access to our wine and were able to easily schedule a time with Bill to pick up wine or add to our collection. We tried to visit Safe Harbour in February of 2017 but Bill indicated he was unavailable that weekend.

 

We became busy and did not attempt to get additional wine until November 2017. At that time, we were told by Bill that he had cervical fusion of his upper back and that Safe Harbour was closed until January 2018.

 

We contacted Bill in January he stated that due to insurance change, people were no longer allowed in the warehouse. We told him at that time that we would like to get all of our wine delivered to our houses. I am not going to go into the gory details but let’s just say it was broken promise after broken promise and he never delivered the wine.

 

We began investigating what he was telling us and found most of everything to be untrue. Additionally, we discovered that Bill Holder was sued by AIG to recover $354,000 in “stolen” wine from the warehouse that AIG payed out from an insurance claim.

 

Apparently, a customer showed up to get his wine and Bill reported a break-in and the Anne Arundel police were there when the customer showed up – This was in June/July of 2016. It is my understanding that 7-8 people were affected but only one of those clients has become public through the law suit by AIG.

 

Fast forward to April of 2018 – Federal law enforcement showed up at my brother’s house to ask if we had wine stored a Safe Harbour.

 

At that point we retained and attorney and after our attorney tried to get Bill to deliver the wine, we filed suit in court to get access to our wine. We had a court date of July 10th but I reached out to Bill and stated the authorities were onto him, we had a court date in 10 days and it was to his advantage to release the wine.

 

We told him we had a 3rd party ready to pick it up. He agreed to let the 3rd party pick it up on July 6th. The wine was delivered to my brother’s house that afternoon.

 

Most of the wine was gone.
Last edited by Todd Laubach on December 20th, 2018, 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.