Caught

Feds apprehend Chris Edwards in Mexico on fraud charges

Wine executive fled U.S. after 2013 indictment
2014-01-17T17:36:00Z 2014-04-16T17:32:47Z Feds apprehend Chris Edwards in Mexico on fraud chargesKERANA TODOROV Napa Valley Register
January 17, 2014 5:36 pm  • 

The former Napa wine executive accused of stealing $900,000 from an online wine fulfillment company has been apprehended in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he allegedly fled after his indictment in May for fraud and money laundering, federal officials said Friday.

Martin “Chris” Edwards, a former Napa mayoral candidate and longtime community activist, was arrested Wednesday in Mexico and deported to the United States to face federal charges, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag and other officials announced Friday.

FBI agents in the United States and Guadalajara, Mexico, coordinated their efforts with Mexican immigration officials to locate Edwards, Haag said.

They found him near the Hacienda Escondida Private Villas, Haag said in the statement.

He is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Court Judge William H. Alsup in San Francisco on Wednesday.

A federal grand jury on May 30 indicted Edwards, 48, the former general manager of The Wine Tasting Network, on 23 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

Edwards did not make his initial appearance in federal court on June 17 and instead fled to Mexico, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Federal officials allege Edwards wrote fraudulent invoices to a fictitious entity, Dufrane Compliance Trust, to siphon about $900,000 between May 2010 and October 2012, according to court records.

Edwards allegedly deposited the money into an account he controlled, federal officials said. He allegedly withdrew money for his own use, including the purchase of a 2008 BMW which has now been seized.

Edwards faces decades in prison, fines and restitution orders, according to federal officials.

According to news reports, The Wine Tasting Network, was sold in December to TSG, LLC, a St. Louis-based investment group.

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(6) Comments

  1. Wineandfood
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    Wineandfood - January 17, 2014 6:31 pm
    Look's like his vacation on other people's hard earned money is OVER. Awesome.
  2. Napa
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    Napa - January 17, 2014 6:33 pm
    Finally justice is served, and Edwards will get what's coming to him. Thank you investigators, and the FBI. This is just plain wrong what he did.
  3. C-Groom
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    C-Groom - January 17, 2014 9:04 pm
    "Hello, are you Chris Edwards."
    "No. Yo soy Esteban Dufrane."

    I wish I could have seen the look on his face.
  4. proudtohaveserved
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    proudtohaveserved - January 18, 2014 12:46 am
    Okay, I get it.

    Fictitious entity..., "Dufrane" Compliance Trust?

    Puerto Vallarte, Hacienda Escondida Private Villas?

    The same spot where "Red" and "Andy Dufrane" finally hooked up after their long stints at Shawshank?

    Marty Edwards, it appears that your "Redemption" has backfired and now permanently placed on hold,
  5. C-Groom
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    C-Groom - January 18, 2014 10:25 am
    His flagship wine:
    http://www.winetasting.com/Buy-Wine/Featured-Wineries/Dufrane-Lombard-winery

  6. furray
    Report Abuse
    furray - January 18, 2014 3:19 pm
    Welcome home
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