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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Nouveau/Finbow: breaking news - Daniel Snelling guilty

After more than five days of deliberation the jury has returned its verdicts. Daniel Snelling has been found guilty on all four counts, Dina Snelling on two counts and Rebecca McDonald on one count, while Simon Dempsey was found not guilty on all counts.

I am delighted that the jury took its task very seriously spending more than five days to reach its verdicts. I am also very pleased that fraudster Daniel Snelling has been found guilty on all counts. Although I wasn't in court to hear all the evidence, my impression was that his defence, particularly in relation to Finbow was wafer thin. Investors poured around £2.5 million into the hare brained Finbow scheme but only a maximum of around £45,000 was used to buy wine. Finbow purchased and arranged just three shipments of wine. Of these only two went to Hong Kong and one was sent to Nigeria for reasons that were never, as far as I know, explained. Some investors put staggering amounts of money into the Finbow scheme - £290,000 by one deluded investor.

Investors failed to realise that the guarantee given by Finbow that they would buy back the Italian white wine at the end of a year if it hadn't been sold was worth less than the paper it was written on. Cheap Italian wine will not have any resale value a year on even if Snelling  ever had any intention whatever to fulfil his promise. As Snelling's Finbow email persona indicates – Aston because he drove an Aston Martin – his primary concern was to trouser his clients money. 

It was clear that Snelling was planning further frauds. His sister, Dina Snelling, was sent out to Australia at the end of 2009 to set up an office in Sydney to sell eco-friendly investments. They didn't actually have any investments to offer but Dina knew how many staff were required for their new boiler room.

I hope that Snelling receives an appropriately severe sentence not least for wasting everyone's time by not pleading guilty when charged. Was it arrogance, over confidence that made Snelling think he could bluff it out? The cost of the two month was clearly of no more concern to him nor the disruption to the lives of the jury than the impoverishment of investors in Nouveau World Wines/Finbow Wines was. 

I wonder and will never know how much Simon Dempsey's brief but well delivered defence speech played in his favour with the jury. Towards the end of the trial Dempsey dismissed his legal team because of the rudeness of his barrister towards the jury. Equally I can't imagine that Dina Snelling's truculent and bolshie tone when cross-examined strengthened her case. 

Snelling worked for the Australian wine investment scam company, Wine Orb, and then for European Fine Wines Ltd (see also EFWines Ltd) in Bromley. Nouveau World Wines Ltd was set up in September 2004 but did not start trading until early 2006 when the company changed its name from Infinite Rockall Services Limited. Scott Assemakis, recently banned from being a UK director for 11 years for his part in land banking scams, was a director from 1st January 2006 until 31st August 2006. Daniel Snelling became a director on 20th May 2006.    

The investigation was carried out by the Metropolitan Police with major roles played by officers DC Andrew Bailey and DC Carl Hughes.

Sentencing will be on 9th September at Southwark Crown Court. 

    


 

45 comments:

  1. Great news.
    What sentence did Daniel and Dina receive?

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  2. Anon. Thanks. Have just found out that sentencing will be on 9th September. I don't know if the defendants are still on bail or whether bail has been revoked for all or some of them.

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  3. Thanks for that. I hope the sentence is as harsh as it has been on those that suffered from this.

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  4. Thanks for updating the blog with the info of the Trial.

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  5. Knowing briefly the characters I can tell they had such a extravagant lifestyle, my bet is that the amount of money mentioned during the trial is only the tip of the iceberg,

    Daniel Snelling came from nothing and was very proud of his accomplishment.

    As for Billy, he is such an arrogant person I hope the police find him.

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  6. Great news, good to see these idiots getting what they deserve

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  7. You have not got a clue r mcdonald has been conned just as the investors have been by the snellings
    Trust ,family and a genuine desire to keep eveyone happy has backfired and a large hole smashed in her family life her sentance what ever it is will be incorect
    Fact

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  8. Agree with comments relating to R McDonald. They appeared to be no evidence to support extravagant lifestyle and how she had benefitted other than her monthly taxed wage. It shows Daniel and Dina for the callous villains they are. I hope the judge can see them all for what they are and sentences accordingly.

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    1. Agreed that there was no evidence presented that showed Rebecca McDonald benefitted from Finbow apart from her salary of £30,000, which was £4000 less than her salary with KPMG.

      In contrast Dina Snelling received a number of benefits including £11,000 of cosmetic surgery as did Kelly Humphreys

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  9. I can't sit here any longer feeling helpless to the situation.

    I so agree with the comments about Rebecca. She has been a victim of her own good nature and trusting her so call family. I have know her all my life and do not believe that she would ever have defrauded anyone. She received no benefits apart from a salary. She had no motive. I just don't get it.

    She is hardworking, honest and the most lovely person you could ever meet. I wish others could have seen this too.

    All of her friends and 'immediate' family (many of whom have supported her and unrelentingly stood by her throughout the trial) are devestated about this conviction. My own faith in the justice system was misplaced in this instance. I hope the judge can see the wood for the trees and sentences accordingly.

    I don't have enough words to convey my contempt of the Snelling pair and I hope they pay dearly for their crimes. There is no point even asking if they have a conscience about their victims and those they have dragged down with them.

    Whoever said it's just the tip of the iceberg, I fear you may be right..

    Thank you for keeping such an excellent account of the trial Jim.

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  10. It is an injustice IMO that Rebecca was found guilty, she is a victim of their fraud and worked with a wage as a member of staff, as were the investors who lost many thousands. I agree there is no evidence to show she benefited at all from this miserable crime, sadly others are happy to take people down with them. Daniel and Dina lived a life of luxury off the back of their fraud and seem to have no remorse from what I saw in court, Daniel was very arrogant and Dina seemed to think it was all a big joke. I believe Daniel and Dina are both out with tags until the sentence hearing.

    Pleased Daniel and Dina have got what they deserve and hope their sentence reflects the heart ache they have caused not only investors, but to other people. I also hope Billy Davies is bought to account very soon. Sadly others may have got away with it this time...

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    1. I was impressed by the level of support shown to Rebecca McDonald by her family and friends during the trial.

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    2. Yes I agree her family have been amazing not one day she had to go alone. We came up when Daniel was giving evidence and he tried to lie his way through it, in-fact I thought he was quite convincing at times and its a relief the jury saw through it with a guilty verdict, I agree too tip of the ice berg...

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  11. Is there a trial date for Kelly Humphreys?

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    1. I believe the date will be fixed at the time of the sentencing.

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    2. Thanks will watch with interest...

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  12. R McDonald was duped just like the other victims of the Snellings, I really can not work out how the jury came to the conclusion of R McDonald being guilty!
    Surely a crime can only committed if a person has profited from the crime. R McDonald is as honest as the day is long and has always been hard working and decent. I personally hope the judge takes into account that the jury made a grave error with R McDonald and sentences accordingly!

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    1. You can conspire with someone else or others to defraud without necessarily profiting from the fraud, although obviously the motivation for fraud is normally personal profit.

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    2. In my opinion, using that charge was a good way to use Rebecca to get the two people they really wanted. Now she will pay for that and at the very least is tainted for life with this crime.

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  13. I know the Snellings and they have conned their way through life, turning over everyone from the public to the taxman. I hope good long sentences come their way.

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  14. I agree that she was used to help convict the others, it's just wrong that Rebecca was found guilty, she is such a lovely decent person, who has been through so much. Daniel should have done the right thing, pleaded guilty to his crimes and spoken out about Becky's innocence, instead he chose to try and save himself, hopefully the judge will hand him the maximum sentence possible, for all those investors he stole from and others that have been hurt by his selfish actions, he has no shame and nor does Dina, she did benefit from the crime she had plastic surgery and holidays, even having a holiday whilst awaiting the trial, where does a single mother find the money to have various holidays and thousands on plastic surgeries? The whole family make my blood boil including Daniel's father and brother, they bring nothing but misery to those they cross paths with...

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  15. According to Dina's twitter account she was on 'countdown' to her Dubai holiday in July 2012. How on earth was she allowed to go swanning off on holiday whilst on bail??? Talk about rubbing noses in it...

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  16. As so many have stated on here, in my opinion there has been a miscarriage of justice in the case of Rebecca McDonald. She wasn't a trader, she didn't order the wine, she had no gain at all. Her only fault was her naivety and to accept a job with her cousin, that she trusted. As far as she knew he had returned from Australia and had a successful wine business, accepting the job meant less money for her but it did mean she could spend more time with her son, as it was less hours. She did not get large payments for plastic surgery or expensive holidays to Dubai and trips to Australia.

    The is no way in this world that Rebecca would con anybody out of their savings, she has always been a giver not a taker.
    She has been used by the Snellings - criminals: father, sons and daughter.

    Sorry to waffle on but there are so many angry and frustrated people that care for Rebecca and it seems this blog is the only place to be able to do it.

    The media did a good job of grouping them all together as a family unit Brother, Sister & Cousin, well before the trial started. Maybe thats why they thought her guilty. I do hope the jury read this blog.

    I also hope the CPS investigate new companies they are involved in of which there are a few.

    Thank you Jim for your clear and unbiased reports during the trial

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  17. Edited comment by anon. I need evidence for your claim about other members of the Snelling family. Perhaps you could email details of the new companies please?

    'As so many have stated on here, in my opinion there has been a miscarriage of justice in the case of Rebecca McDonald. She wasn't a trader, she didn't order the wine, she had no gain at all. Her only fault was her naivety and to accept a job with her cousin, that she trusted. As far as she knew he had returned from Australia and had a successful wine business, accepting the job meant less money for her but it did mean she could spend more time with her son, as it was less hours. She did not get large payments for plastic surgery or expensive holidays to Dubai and trips to Australia.

    The is no way in this world that Rebecca would con anybody out of their savings, she has always been a giver not a taker.

    She has been used by the Snellings - criminals: sons and daughter.

    Sorry to waffle on but there are so many angry and frustrated people that care for Rebecca and it seems this blog is the only place to be able to do it.

    The media did a good job of grouping them all together as a family unit Brother, Sister & Cousin, well before the trial started. Maybe thats why they thought her guilty. I do hope the jury read this blog.

    I also hope the CPS investigate new companies they are involved in of which there are a few.

    Thank you Jim for your clear and unbiased reports during the trial.'

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    1. Given that the jury spent more than five days considering their verdicts, I have to presume that they reached their verdicts on the evidence presented rather than the press coverage that was largely limited to the very start of the trial.

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    2. Then why were the jury unable to agree on one charge and then able to find Rebecca guilty on another? The evidence was there to find her not guilty on both accounts? Honesty, naivety and being related have just become a criminal offence in the verdict of that jury?

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  18. Daniel and Dina Snelling were born criminals. If they were not stopped I cannot imagine how many more lives they would have ruined without any remorse. Its about time the tables were turned on them. Evil family.
    Finally they will feel the misery of life they deserve.
    Does anyone know what the sentences may be??

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    1. Sentences: Here are the sentences handed down in the Bordeaux Wine Trading Company Ltd and associated companies fraud trial – Paul Craven got 6 years, Oseghale Hayble – 5 years and Benedict Moruthoane – 7. Benedict was involved in three fraudulent companies.

      We can assume that Daniel Snelling's decision not to plead guilty is likely to increase his sentence. He has been found guilty on four counts and is a serial fraudster. My guess is that Daniel Snelling's sentence will be at least five years – six or seven?

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  19. Not sure that Dina Snelling will have been thrilled to see this news report in the News Shopper where she is described as a '53 year old' woman. http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/10559530.Chislehurst_woman_and_brother_convicted_over___5m_wine_investment_scam/

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  20. Rebecca McDonald,s only crime here is being related to the Snellings.
    Rebecca had work for major companies prior and it would it never entered her mind that there was anything underhand happening. Rebecca is totally professional and this situation is totally incomprehensible to her. She was never going to make sense of the chaos in the office due to the malicious character running the business and now wanted by the Law, she resigned, working her notice under duress, testament to her integrity and professionalism, this is Rebecca, this is her character.
    Rebecca is a wonderful, warm, person, a credit to herself, her family, her friends and a decent human being; and this has been used to her disadvantage.
    The public needs to be protected from the Snellings and all others who seek to behave in this manner. I just hope that the judge recognises this when passing sentence because irrespective of what happens, this lady should not have been in this situation in the first place.
    Thanks for you unbiased coverage of this case Jim and for you positive comment on Rebecca's support, I will only add that this support from her friends and family is easy and unconditional because we know she is innocent of what she has been accused and that this is an injustice to her of biblical proportions.

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    1. I agree with everything written in the above comment. Such a shame that nothing can be done about this injustice. Rebecca is going through a living hell.

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    2. Will appeals be allowed in this case?

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    3. Even if an appeal were permitted, the monstrous damage caused by this trial and wrong verdict will never rectify the carnage caused in Rebecca's life. There is another victim added to the list of losing investors!

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  21. The Rebecca McDonald conviction is clearly a farce (in my opinion), can Daniel and Dina Snelling not have enough dignity, or even just a fraction of an ounce of guilt enough to come out and say that she was not guilty?? It seemes bizarre that even after they've been caught hand's down, that they wouldn't at least do right by her. Maybe it wouldn't result in the conviction being revoked/quashed, but at least it could be taken into consideration for her sentencing (as would their honesty presumably...)????

    It makes me wonder, why would the Snellings not attempt to help McDonald? Did she have a hand in it?? Either that or the Snellings are simply pure evil.

    Doesn't change the fact that there didn't appear to be enough evidence for her conviction. Extremely harsh.

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    1. I agree with the above. Many people know that Rebecca is not guilty but at this stage I am unsure if others pleading her innocence would carry much weight?It would have been the decent and honourable act to do at the time but I fear it is too late to be of any consequential benefit now! Rebecca has been found guilt of a crime she did not commit?

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  22. Just thought you would be interested to know Billy Davies has been caught.

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  23. Anon. Thank you. If you are correct this is good news .

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  24. I think the police in this case should hang their heads. I have no problem with the Snellings being found guilty, they are scum.
    But they brought in Rebecca without correct legal representation and exploited a scared, law abiding person. She gave them the answers they needed to build their case because she had done no wrong.
    You have been unbiased and my heart goes out to victims, they are normally the forgotten ones. lets hope the judge see's more clearly than the jury.

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  25. I cannot disagree with any of the above. That was a vert bad day for British Justice and trial by jury. I no longer have any faith In Births Justice! What happened to protecting the innocent and convicting the guilty? To those people who lost money, you have my deepest sympathy, but you also are not receiving justice when an innocent party is found guilt by association, that person has lost far more than money?

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    1. I agree with the above it is a sad day for British justice when Becky was sentanced to a crime she had no knowledge about. Really makes you think twice about working for relations. Perhaps when she was charged she should have said no comment like the Snelling and that way the Police would have nothing to go on.

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  26. Edited comment by anon:

    'I can vouch for Becky's innocence Ive know her all my life, she is like another member of my very close family, she would never ever steal from people let alone vulnerable people, nor would she turn a blind eye why others did,

    I also knew Daniel when he was younger and to be fair he seemed like he was going to be the straight Snelling, clearly the apple didn't fall far from the tree and he is a cruel criminal with no conscience.

    Sadly Becky must have also felt he was above aboard and made the huge mistake in trusting him and his sister Dina.

    They both know she is innocent, don't know how they are sleeping at night, there are things Becky has gone through that are nothing to do with the case and I don't know how she is still standing to be honest. In light of the case and the personal tragedies for Becky this trial has been unbelievably cruel to her, there is nothing we can do but watch it all unfold, its very upsetting.

    thank goodness they found Billy Davies.'

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  27. I have been carefully reading all the comments related to Rebecca McDonald, all very much in support and protests of her conviction and certain of her innocence. How can this verdict be challenged? None of this makes any sense when the CPS did not have all parties named on the indictment in custody and failed when challenged to add other potential perpetrators names to call to account, this is not a great demonstration or advert for the judicial system, yet seems perfectly comfortable as long as someone is found guilty? This is all wrong and In defence of Rebecca McDonald, who is indeed totally innocent of any association in any fraud, I ask what can be done to protest or challenge this conviction? There are dozens of messages of support, the people who have taken their time to post these messages cannot all be wrong! This is our law and it is completely wrong in this situation!

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    1. Anon. Thanks for your comment.

      I assume that it will be open to Rebecca McDonald's legal team to seek to appeal against the conviction.

      I don't follow why a trial should be delayed until all the parties are custody or their whereabouts known and they have been charged. This would seem to be a recipe for endless delay. As it is there is often a considerable delay in getting lengthy fraud trials to court.

      As you know the role of the CPS is to judge whether there is a reasonable chance of conviction on the evidence presented by the police or other organisation eg SFO or Trading Standards.

      Unfortunately as the messages of support for Rebecca are anonymous it is impossible to know how many individuals have posted messages.

      Although I spent a considerable time in court, I couldn't attend the whole trial so didn't hear all the evidence nor, of course, are we privy to the jury's discussions. However, there was no evidence presented that she benefitted financially from the fraud – her salary of £30,000 was less than she had been earning at KPMG (£34K).

      Sentencing is at Southwark Crown Court in Court 3 at 2pm on Monday 9th September.

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  28. Thanks for responding and posting my message Jim.
    If any of Rebecca's friends or family thought she had any involvement in any aspect of this crime, Rebecca would have been attending court alone, not one day did Rebecca attend alone and many days Rebecca had many people for moral support. We are all "every day people" and work bloody hard, none of us want anything that is not ours or anything we could not afford, Rebecca is no different. If the jury could have sorted the "wheat from the chaff", Rebecca would have nothing to account for however, as has been mentioned elsewhere, there should have been more people , the real beneficiares and perpetrators of this crime on trial; the CPS dragged their feet here and I do sincerely hope that they are held to account because sentiment suggests that they are guilty. I agree unreservedly! With other individuals being brought to trial, Rebecca's involvement should be exonerated, others maybe implicated further but because of Rebecca's relationship and the amount of money lost, someone was to blame! It was a complicated trial and the jury got it completely wrong in Rebecca's verdict, a travesty for British justice for which I truly believe and hope can be rectified and compensated, we are not interested in finance but justice! Rebecca's involvement in this fraud is none existent and having the real perpetrators, the individuals the CPS failed to identify would have proved this.

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