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Newport Beach man accused of stealing $2.7 million in wine

A Newport Beach oenophile is accused of breaking into clients' lockers at his wine storage facility in Irvine and later auctioning off stolen bottles.

October 05, 2012|By Mike Anton, Los Angeles Times

A Newport Beach man who had a nose for the most coveted wines could wind up spending 16 years in prison after being accused of stealing $2.7 million worth of vintage vino.

George Osumi, 64, faces six felony charges related to stealing bottles of collectible wine from clients who paid to store them in his temperature-controlled facility in Irvine.

Osumi, who operates Legend Cellars Inc., is accused of breaking into lockers starting in 2008 and replacing the good stuff with bottles of cheaper wine.

Prosecutors said Osumi then hired a friend — who was unaware the wine was stolen — to auction some of it off. Later, Osumi allegedly auctioned more of the bottles himself. In all, authorities say he pocketed nearly $600,000.

Osumi is being held on $4-million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Orange County Superior Court.

Osumi has also been charged with tax and insurance fraud in a separate case.

mike.anton@latimes.com

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