WEST CHESTER, Pa. - Police and prosecutors have busted what they said was an illegal, high-end wine smuggling operation run by a local attorney.
A nine-month, undercover investigation has led to the arrest of Arthur David Goldman, a 49-year-old attorney from Malvern, Chester Co., the county's district attorney's office announced Monday.
"The defendant imported a collection of high-end wine that included over 2,000 bottles. He made those wines available for sale to his own private list of customers, knowing that it was illegal," said First Asst. District Attorney Michael Noone. "This was not some casual exchange of wine between friends. The defendant was running a highly organized, high-volume illegal business operation to make money."
The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement learned of the operation in March. An undercover agent then contacted Goldman.
"How do I know you aren't an agent for the PLCB?" Goldman asked.
Once satisfied with the agent's response, Goldman provided the agent with a 97-page list of wines that were available for sale either from his personal wine cellar or that he could order, officials said.
State police subsequently made multiple undercover purchases of high-end wine, not available for legal purchase in Pennsylvania, at Goldman's home, officials said.
"This was a brazen violation of the law by someone who clearly knew better. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but he continued to systematically break the law," Noone said.
The investigation culminated in a state police search of Goldman's home on Jan. 6. They seized 2,426 bottles of high-end wine, valued between $150,000 and $200,000, officials said.
Goldman was charged with multiple misdemeanors. He could face a fine of nearly $200,000 if he's convicted.
The fine would be assessed at a fixed dollar amount per ounce of alcohol seized.
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