A businessman dealing in vintage wines has pleaded guilty to setting fire to $200m worth of vintage wines in what is believed to be an attempted cover-up of an oenophilic pyramid scheme. Mark Anderson, a native of Berkeley, admitted arson on a warehouse in Vallejo which destroyed six billion bottles and entire generations of Californian vintage wines. Prosecutors believe the fire’s motive was to destroy evidence for another earlier investigation into his wine storage company, Sausalito Cellars, which is suspected to be a pyramid scheme. “After accepting deposits of bottles of wine from customers, Anderson was accused of selling them through a Chicago company — and sometimes replacing the expensive bottles he sold with Trader Joe’s ‘Two-Buck Chuck.’ Indeed, it appears that Anderson was running a massive oenophilic pyramid scheme–and, for the wine world, has carved a path of destruction not dissimilar to Bernie Madoff’s decimation of New York high-society.”
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