SANTA ANA — A business operator was arraigned Friday at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana for stealing $2.7 million worth of wine from his clients’ storage lockers.
George Osumi, 64, of Newport Beach is charged with three felony counts of second-degree commercial burglary, one felony count each of grand theft, embezzlement by employee, and receiving stolen property, and one misdemeanor count for possession of burglary tools, with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white-collar crime over $500,000, property damage over $1.3 million, and crime-bail crime.
Osumi faces a maximum sentence of 16 years and four months in state prison if convicted. He is being held on $4 million bail.
Between Jan. 1, 2008, and June 21, 2012, Osumi is accused of operating the commercial building Legend Cellars Inc. in Irvine. The business allowed people to store their wine in storage lockers at a controlled temperature. On three occasions, Osumi is accused of breaking into the private storage lockers of three different owners and stealing their wine that had an estimated value of $2.7 million. He is accused of replacing the bottles of wine he stole with a much cheaper brand.
In 2008, Osumi is accused of hiring a friend, who did not know the wine was stolen, to auction off some of the stolen wine in exchange for a portion of the proceeds. Osumi is accused of having approximately $280,000 deposited into his business account and using the money to pay for personal expenses and legal fees.
Between July 20, 2011, and June 7, 2012, Osumi is accused of directly auctioning some of the stolen wine for $310,965 and having the money deposited into his business account.
A family member of one of the clients reported the theft to the Irvine Police Department (IPD), which investigated this case.
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of the theft at Legend Cellars is encouraged to contact IPD Detective Sarah Tunnicliffe at (949) 724-7170 by Nov. 30 to reclaim possession of their wine.
Deputy District Attorney Shaddi Kamiabipour of the Insurance Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.