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Windsor Jones Alleged Wine Investment Scheme Ordered to Cease and Desist and Potentially Pay Nearly $2.4 Million in Restitution and Fines

Submitted on Friday, November 4, 2022

Des Moines – Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen issued a Cease and Desist Order against Windsor Jones, LLC as well as Anthony Collins, Elizabeth Parker and Mark Goodwin based on the Division’s allegations the promoters engaged in securities fraud, the sale of an unregistered security, and acting as an unregistered broker-dealer and unregistered securities agent.

“It’s unfortunate that there are individuals out there that take advantage of and defraud Iowans - especially those that prey on our older Iowans.  We have investigations involving similar wine investments that appear to be fraudulent, so I encourage Iowans to be careful about any similar sounding pitch,” Deputy Commissioner Andrew Hartnett said. “Whatever Iowans may be looking to invest in, it’s important for them to be vigilant and protect their assets.  I encourage Iowans to double-check with our office to ensure the people offering investments and the products themselves are legitimate and licensed properly.”

The investigation into Windsor Jones began in October of 2021.  The Cease and Desist order alleges an ongoing scheme to defraud an elderly Iowan.  The Cease and Desist Order alleges several examples of the fraud, including:

  • Windsor Jones advised the investor that they would provide their services for a 10% commission taken off the sale proceeds.  However, Collins told an Iowa Insurance Division investigator that commissions were actually taken upon the investor’s purchases of the securities at approximately 30-40% of the purchase price.
     
  • Windsor Jones selected Bordeaux City Bond, located in Bordeaux, France, as the facility to store the investor's wine purchases.  However, documentation from Bordeaux City Bond shows that Windsor Jones purchased 36 fewer cases of wine than it had represented to the investor.  Windsor Jones sent invoices to the investor and accepted money from the investor to purchase 122 cases of wine, but Bordeaux City Bond documents indicate that the investor only has 86 cases of wine in storage.
     
  • Windsor Jones’ bank records indicate a pattern of using the investor’s investment funds to pay for unrelated business expenses and personal expenditures instead of using the funds to purchase the wine securities.  For example, from March 24, 2021 to April 7, 2021, the investor wired investment funds totaling $339,460 into Windsor Jones’ bank account.  Only $4,002.77 of his funds were sent to Bordeaux City Bond and the remainder appears to have been spent on unrelated expenses, including a $51,000 payment to Bloombar Watches and $54,537.52 to Diamond and Watches Co. Ltd.
     
  • Despite Windsor Jones advising the investor that he could sell his wine at any time, after three years of investments, there have been no sales of any of the wines purchased on the investor’s behalf.  In fact, Windsor Jones used the investor’s requests to sell as an opportunity to seek further investment.

Windsor Jones, Collins, Parker and Goodwin have 30 days from the date of the cease and desist order to request a hearing to defend themselves against the allegations.  If they do not request a hearing, they will be jointly and severally liable to pay investor restitution in the amount of $2,018,873.68, a civil penalty in the amount of $370,000 and $9,500 for costs of the investigation and prosecution.

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