Jupe sent down for 5 years in Marshall Wineries trial
In May 2004 Stephen Jupe received a 5 year prison sentence at Southwark Crown Court for his part in the Marshall Wineries Fraud. Jim Budd of investdrinks.com attended the trial and this is his report:-
Sentencing Jupe on three counts of fraudulent trading and one of using a prohibited name his Honour Judge Stewart said that "this was a dishonest scheme from the outset". Stewart observed that when the first brochures were sent out Marshall Wineries had no source of supply. The source they eventually chose (Speyside) had no track record. "It was completely unknown and had just started". Jupe pretended that Grandtully was a working distillery and Jupe made a specious offer when Grandtully declared the entire 1993 production to be premium. This was completely meaningless and was merely a device to keep "customers compliant".
Jupe appeared quite relaxed in court while he awaited sentencing it may be that he expected a lighter sentence. Certainly as he was ushered out to start his sentence by the warder he appeared shocked and confused. The judge made it clear that he had reduced the sentence because of the time that it has taken for the case to come to court. However, Jupe's continued failure to admit even at the pre-sentencing stage that he had done anything wrong pushed his sentence back up. As Jupe stumbled out it was revealed that although he was wearing a smart suit jacket, white shirt and carefully knotted tie
his lower half was clad in jeans. A fitting metaphor for Jupe's whisky investment scheme.
A Serious Jury
The jury took two and half days to reach their verdict. This was another indication of their serious approach to their task. During the trial they had asked an unprecedented number of questions. They clearly saw through Michael Hopmeier's knock-about speech in defence of Jupe. Hopmeier did well with the thin stuff at his disposal as much of the evidence was so damning that he could only invite the jury to take a fleeting look, for instance, at Marshall's brochures. He did ingeniously
suggest that the company's claim to experience actually related to Jupe and Daulby's work in the financial services sector before setting up Marshall Wineries. Jupe made no such claim - presumably only too aware that his stock-broking experience with a fraudulent company was not something he wanted the jury to know about.
A Curious Christian
For a proclaimed devout, evangelical Christian Jupe is a decidedly lousy advert for his religion. During the life of Marshall Wineries he told a series of lies both in print and in person, so as to defraud both customers and creditors of the company.
Similarly over his long stint in the witness box fraudster Jupe continued to lie. It may well have been the stress of lying over several days that brought on the chest pains that caused him to go to his doctor to get medication. Jupe spent long hours in the box maintaining the fiction that Grandtully whisky was ever a potential investment, especially as the grossly inflated price at which it was sold. It was also clear that Jupe's knowledge of the drinks' industry remains sketchy. He even suggested that Blanc de Champagne is made exclusively from Sauvignon Blanc until he corrected this to Chardonnay.
Jupe was also determined to smear people like Mark Reynier of La Reserve and Andrew Jefford, the journalist who first exposed Jupe's fraudulent activities in the Evening Standard back in November 1995. He claimed that Jefford and Reynier were part of a conspiracy to bring him and Marshall Wineries down which involved the DTI, SFO and the SWA (Scotch Whisky Association).
Subsequently the media exposed Jupe's attempts to give Marshall Wineries and Marshall Wineries Ltd the gloss of respectability through associations with the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and the Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Both organisations smartly dissociated themselves once they realised the true nature of Jupe and his fraudulent businesses.
Donating some £40,000 of the company's money to UKET, an evangelical Christian organisation only added to Marshall
Wineries financial problems. Jupe maintained that this was Marshall's "putting something back into the community". But this was small compared to the £450,000 that Jupe siphoned out of the company for his own use mainly to buy and renovate a house close to Putney Heath in Roehampton, London. Jupe was the sole signatory on Marshall's bank account and clearly believed that the company's money was his own.
When the company went bust on 26th November 1996 it owed £84,000 to the Inland Revenue, £300,000 to trade creditors,
£136,000 to customers and £179,000 to Barclaycard, who gave notice on 4th November 1996 that they would be withdrawing their facilities in 14 days as part of their general policy to get out of the highly dubious whisky and Champagne investment sector.
Like a Wild Boar
At times in the witness box the stocky, squat, short-necked, bearded Jupe looked like a cornered irascible wild boar. It was
evident that Jupe is both extraordinarily arrogant and that he takes himself with ludicrous seriousness. Witness his extraordinary outburst at the end of his time in the box when he delivered a sub- standard pastiche of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" - a paean of praise to private enterprise fraud - "I have a vision of a different country - free of cartels, government interference and where competitors will not be able to conspire with government agencies against innovative companies"
This richly comic interlude was only cut short by the judge remarking that Jupe had strayed away from the point.
At no time did Jupe express the slightest regret that his actions had cost investors and creditors several million pounds. It was never his fault rather other people's mistakes or a conspiracy against him because his innovative business threatened that status quo of the whisky industry.
Why not plead guilty?
Watching the trial investdrinks could only wonder why Jupe did not plead guilty. The evidence that he has misled investors was evident and compelling. The initial brochure of April 1993 was full of lies and misrepresentations - neither Jupe nor his partner Daulby, later convicted for fraud over the Cavendish/Hamilton Spirit Management had any of the experience claimed. Nor did they have a source of supply even though they had fixed the price of the casks. It was not until 12th July that Daulby and Leonard Bayliss first met Ricky Christie of the Speyside Distillery and it was not until late August that the first order was placed following an agreement with Speyside. Yet Marshall Wineries had been assuring investors since at least May 1993 that their casks had been selected and bought. Furthermore the whisky finally selected - Speyside to be sold as Grandtully - was completely unknown and untried as the distillery produced its first spirit on 12th December 1990. Jupe can have had no idea of the whisky's potential as none of the Speyside's production had yet passed the three-year mark when it ceases to be just spirit and legally whisky.
A Miserable Failure
Although Jupe was proud that his fraud had turned over £3.8 million during the four year's of Marshall Wineries life ("I think I did rather well"), he can hardly get much satisfaction from contemplating the wreckage of his life. Personally bankrupt. forced to sell the house at 69 Medfleld Street, Roehampton, London after living there for only six months and into which he poured much of the profit from Marshall Wineries. Now at 50 he contemplates a possibly lengthy jail sentence away from his wife and three children. It is highly unlikely, however, that Jupe will admit that he is the architect of his misery.
Welcome to the 8th issue of Uisge Beatha. Much has happened since our last issue. Stephen Jupe has finally been charged with conspiracy to defraud investors with Marshall Wineries, found guilty and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. As Neil Collins City Editor of the Daily Telegraph stated in his report on this case the Serious Fraud Office should be renamed the "Simple Fraud Office". Stephen Jupe was an easy target certainly not a sophisticated con man and in the end lost everything. The Big Fish evaded prosecution to defraud investors once again either in the wine scam, the art scam or other schemes.
At last the government is to take action and has proposed a new general offence for fraud which will apply in circumstances where a person dishonestly makes a representation which he knows to be false or misleading or which he is aware might be false or misleading. Quite rightly the idea is to make the law more comprehensible to juries and the general public and make prosecutions more effective.
Let us hope that in the future the SFO will deal promptly and efficiently with con men who persist in making reckless and dishonest statements to induce investors to part with their savings.
In my last newsletter I brought investors attention to Burn Stewart cynical decision to double storage charges. Evidently brokers still pay the old rate. As charges were paid in arrears it has only been in June this year that invoices have been dropping through letter boxes and I have been inundated with quite justifiable complaints. Burns Stewart are now offering to buy back their own Tobermory Single Malt which helped to cause the scam in the first place at £300.00 a Hogshead for 9- 10 year old malt. Now you cannot buy a new full Hogshead for that but because Burns Stewart massively over produced Tobermory the market for 9-10 year old is dire and the best prices I have been able to obtain are £350/375.00 a Hogshead.
I am sick of selling investors malt for such a pittance and I am looking at other ways of dealing with the matter. I am looking at creating a new cask strength blend using Tobermory as one of the ingredients plus some special grain and malt whiskies. To do this properly it needs investment and if anyone would like to help fund this venture please contact me. I won't promise that you will make a fortune but it will be an exciting enterprise and give back Tobermory holders more of their investment than a mere £300.00