Wine collectors trusted William Lamont Holder to keep their rare vintages safe in a special facility in Glen Burnie.

Instead, the Hanover man was selling some of the wine to retailers and brokers around the country, pocketing between $550,000 and $1.5 million over four years.


A federal judge sentenced Holder, 54, to 18 months in prison for the long-running scam, and ordered him to pay back the customers he cheated, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore said.

Holder was the owner and operator of Safe Harbour Wine Storage, which stored and transported upscale wines for private collectors and commercial establishments. In return for a monthly fee, Holder would arrange for the transportation of a customer’s wine to a storage facility near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, where it would be inventoried and stored. Holder did not possess a license to sell wine in the State of Maryland.

From January 2013 through December 2017, Holder offered their wine for sale to wine retailers and brokers around the country, including in Napa, California, all the while continuing to collect the customers’ monthly storage fees and accept additional wine for storage.

Holder represented to potential third-party buyers that he was the lawful owner of the wine. He faxed and emailed lists of bottles of wine stored in his warehouse with detailed descriptions of the winery, vintage, and asking price.

After the buyers selected the bottles they wanted to purchase, Holder boxed and shipped the wine, and sent his bank account information. After inspecting the shipment of wine, the buyers would either wire the money directly into Holder’s bank account or send a check. Holder kept the proceeds from the sales and spent it on personal expenses.

Holder was indicted in December with five counts of wire fraud and five counts of interstate transportation of stolen goods. Under the plea agreement he was convicted of one count of wire fraud, admitting that he faxed a purchase agreement in June 2017 to sell 216 bottles of wine to a broker in Napa for $11,800.

U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Blake accepted the agreement.