Newport man gets 6 years for stealing wine

A Newport Beach man was sentenced to six years in state prison Friday after pleading guilty to charges that he stole $2.7 million worth of wine from a storage facility he operated and in a separate case under-reported more than $3.5 million of payroll cost at his construction company.

The two cases came to a close with guilty pleas to more than 75 felony counts, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

In the first case, George Osumi, 64, broke into wine storage lockers at Legend Cellars Inc., which he operated in Irvine, and replaced expensive bottles with cheaper wines, according to the district attorney.

He then hired a friend to auction off some of the stolen wine or sold it at auction himself, netting almost $600,000.

In the second case, Osumi, created dummy companies using the names of friends and relatives to avoid taxes even though he was the one operating the businesses, according to the district attorney.

He also under-reported his payroll by more than $3.5 million to avoid paying higher premiums for workers compensation insurance.


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