John Fox is a Ponzi schemer serving 6 ½ years in a federal prison. He duped his clients out of over $45 million worth of wine. American Greed will feature him on Monday’s episode.
The CNBC show is set to examine the way Fox built his successful Berkeley, CA-based online and retail wine business. Eventually, the Ponzi scheme he set in motion crumbled, bringing his Premier Cru business down for good.
From the very beginning of the story, Berkeleyside was there to break multiple revelations. Frances Dinkelspiel, its co-founder, was invited to join the American Greed episode featuring John Fox.
What Was the John Fox Berkeley Wine Ponzi Scheme All About?
Fox had a well-known reputation for offering fine wines at unbeatable prices. This is how he was able to get his clients to pay for their wines upfront. They expected to see their products months or years down the line.
Of the funds John Fox collected from clients, about $5 million was funneled into his personal bank accounts. Here’s a short list of what he spent during the operation of the wine Ponzi scheme:
- Multi-million-dollar Alamo home
- Two golf course memberships
- Numerous luxury vehicles and fast cars
- His daughter’s tuition for college
- Around $900,000 for online dating sites
Fox would constantly stall his clients when they’d ask for their wine deliveries. He’d promise to deliver the goods in the next overseas shipment. But, he never did.
The Ultimate Scammer Gets Scammed
According to the American Greed American Greed profile on John Fox, he also got scammed in the end. After connected with a young Seattle woman, she threatened to tell Fox’s wife about their sexual affair… that is… unless he paid her thousands of dollars.
In 2015, the FBI began its investigation into Premier Cru and John Fox. They asked the Ponzi schemer to secretly tape all of his phone calls with the schemer’s schemer.
Because he cooperated with authorities in this matter, the Feds recommended a mere 6-year sentence for Fox’s Ponzi scheme operation. Seul Ki Yum, the woman who attempted to scheme John Fox, was charged with four counts of extortion.
“Berkeley is moving ahead to buy the now vacant Premier Cru property at 1011 University Ave. with a view to hold City Council meetings, and then building affordable housing, there.
Fox, 61, is serving his time at the Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc, a medium-security prison in southern California.”
Video: John Fox Lives the High Life Off the Money from His Wine Scam | American Greed | CNBC Prime
The following video was uploaded to YouTube by CNBC Prime:
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