Wine Co. Exec Sentenced for Tax Evasion

A former executive of the WineTasting Network has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for tax evasion & embezzling over $894,000 from the California-located Internet wine business, according to federal prosecutors.  In April of this year, Martin Christopher Edwards pled guilty to federal charges of tax evasion, wire fraud, and mail fraud for setting up a fictitious tax compliance trust for his company, which was supposed to provide tax services to wineries and wine companies.

Edwards then sent falsified invoices to WineTasting Network for the never-delivered services, acquiring around $894,000 in total payments from his employer, which he apparently spent on personal expenses, including the purchase of a BMW since seized by the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition, Edwards failed to report the income he received from 2010 to 2012 to the IRS, which then triggered the tax evasion charges.

After an initial federal indictment in May 2013, Edwards fled to Mexico, where, after seven months on the run, he was eventually arrested by federal agents in January and deported to the U.S. for trial. Edwards has been sentenced to serve the next 3 years in federal penitentiary for his crime, followed by a three year period of supervised release.