Kent wine merchant wound-up in court

A wine merchant has been wound-up in the High Court for misleading investors in unregulated investment scheme.

On 17 March 2020, Dow And Jones Limited was wound up in the public interest – the Official Receiver has been appointed as liquidator.

At the hearing to consider the petition to wind up the company, the court heard that Dow and Jones Limited was incorporated in September 2015, with a registered office in Sidcup, Kent, and a trading address in Central London until May 2019.

Having received complaints about Dow and Jones’s trading practices, the Insolvency Service conducted confidential investigations into the wine merchants.

Investigators discovered that the company sold wine to members of the public as an investment opportunity. Dow and Jones, however, were found to sell the stock to those investor customers at double the normal retail price, making it unlikely that investors would ever get their original capital back or make a profit.

Sales staff working for Dow and Jones falsely claimed to investors that additional purchases were required to ensure that a portfolio of wines could be sold quicker and at a higher price.

Dow and Jones had also failed to honour customer orders going back to 2016, with the company also having filed inaccurate accounts at Companies House.

In her judgment, Deputy Judge Jones stated that “there is something extremely wrong about this company”, before confirming that the promised returns to investors were “vastly overstated”.

Senior Investigator at the Insolvency Service, Irshard Mohammed, said

“Similar to boiler room operations, Dow and Jones used sales scripts from previously failed companies, which assisted salesmen to convince people, including the vulnerable, to invest their money in unregulated investments. Even those customers who received the wine they had paid for lost a sizable proportion of their investment, as the wine was materially overpriced.”

See The Insolvency Service website for more details.