Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the unsealing of an indictment charging NICOLAS DE-MEYER with the interstate transportation of stolen property for DE-MEYER’s theft of more than $1.2 million of fine wine. DE-MEYER was arrested last night at Los Angeles International Airport and will be presented today in federal court in Los Angeles. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Paul G. Gardephe in the Southern District of New York.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As alleged, Nicholas De-Meyer, personal assistant to a Manhattan-based employer, stole over a million dollars’ worth of some of the world’s finest wines from his boss. We thank our law enforcement partners at the FBI for their excellent investigative work on this case.”
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Rare wines have a very specific market, but even given the narrow chance of making money illegally, thieves will find a way to break the law. The theft in this case, however, was no small amount, totaling more than a million dollars. The FBI Art Crime Team is tasked with investigating and recovering rare and many times invaluable items, and bringing to justice criminals who believe no one is watching. We would like to thank the East Hampton Village Police Department for its partnership in this case.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court:
From 2008 to November 2016, NICOLAS DE-MEYER worked as a personal assistant to a Manhattan-based individual (the “Victim”) who collects rare and expensive wine. From at least 2014 to approximately October 2016, DE-MEYER stole from the Victim hundreds of bottles of wine worth more than $1.2 million. During that time, DE-MEYER used an alias to sell the wine that he stole from the Victim to a North Carolina-based wine dealer. Among the wine DE-MEYER stole were bottles of wine from the French estate Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (“DRC”), whose wines are widely considered among the best, most expensive, and rarest wines in the world. For example, in October 2016, DE-MEYER stole from the Victim seven bottles of DRC wine that the Victim had previously purchased for $133,650.
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NICOLAS DE-MEYER, 40, of New York, New York, is charged with one count of interstate transportation of stolen property, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
U.S. Attorney Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Art Crime Team.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Justin V. Rodriguez is in charge of the prosecution.
The charge contained in the Indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.