This sentence follows Constantinos’ conviction on 25th June on ten counts that included running a fraudulent business, intent to defraud and acting as a company director while disqualified. His trial lasted three weeks and was brought by Tower Hamlets Trading Standards.
An eight-year jail sentence is in the upper range of sentences given to drinks’ investment fraudsters over the last decade. Constantinos compounded his fraudulent activities by running companies while banned as a director.
Following the collapse in 2006 of the Bordeaux Wine Consultants Ltd, Constantinos’ first wine investment company, he was banned from being a UK company director from 2008 to 2017. However, he acted as company director for several companies including Alpha Invest Worldwide, The Premier Bordeaux Wine Company and Classic Bordeaux Wines, which was based in Marbella.
Constantinos raked in around £1 million from duped investors. Instead of buying wine, he spent money on himself and his family including holidays in San Francisco and New York.
One investor, Dr Norman Dearden, was defrauded of nearly £500,000, while another lost £250,000 of their life savings.
Constantinos was adept at fobbing off his increasingly desperate investors with promises that they would shortly receive their money back or that their wine was safe in a bonded warehouse, while all the time plying them with further wine investment opportunities. Of course these promises were never fulfilled as Constantinos siphoned off his clients money for his own purposes.
In March 2013 Constantinos left the following comment (typical of his false promises) a earlier post on investdrinks about The Premier Bordeaux WineCompany:
'All clients will receive all of their monies within a 6 month period. The company has had financial issues that are being resolved. This is not a scam and no fraud has taken place. I have never not responded to client emails with updates etc. This matter is already being dealt with by lawyers. I apologise to all clients that have been affected by this situation but once again I would like to reiterate that it my intention and belief that all clients will be paid the money that they are owed with interest within a 6 month period.'
The only financial issues faced by Constantinos' companies was how rapidly he could trouser his clients' money to fund his lifestyle. Constantinos' comment was a clear admission that he was running a company, while banned as a UK director.
Five months later Constantinos was back again making promises (see below) but also acknowledging that he was under investigation by Tower Hamlets, which would lead him to the dock at the Old Bailey and then to prison.
Spyros Constantinos again:
25th August 2013 at 09:21
Constantinos claimed he was let down by his fine wine supplier – Alexandre – a Russian based in Marbella. Similar script used by fraudster Daniel Snelling – equally unsuccessful!