A former personal assistant to Goldman Sachs co-president David Solomon has been indicted in federal court for allegedly taking hundreds of bottles of wine worth an estimated $1.2 million from his boss' Manhattan cellar, and reselling them. The U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against Nicolas De-Meyer during a court hearing Jan. 17, a day after FBI agents arrested De-Meyer at Los Angeles International Airport.
De-Meyer has been taken to New York, where he awaits trial in federal district court. He is charged with one count of interstate transportation of stolen property, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The indictment states that De-Meyer worked for Solomon from 2008 to 2016. One of his tasks was accepting wine deliveries at the finance executive's Manhattan apartment, and then transporting them to Solomon's East Hamptons house. According to the indictment, for a period of at least two years, De-Meyer sold hundreds of the bottles to an unnamed wine dealer based in North Carolina using the alias "Mark Miller." The dealer or an employee traveled to New York to pick up the wines.
In October 2016, the indictment alleges, De-Meyer sold seven bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, worth $133,000, to the dealer.
Solomon has been a partner at Goldman Sachs since 1999, and is now the second-highest ranking executive at the firm. Media profiles have discussed his appreciation of fine wine and food, his regular dining at some of New York's esteemed restaurants and his extensive wine collection.
The theft was discovered in November 2016. At the Jan. 17 hearing in Los Angeles, the government introduced a sworn statement from Solomon's wife, Mary Solomon, stating that she and her husband confronted De-Meyer privately that month. He admitted guilt, then fled the country within 24 hours. In the following months, FBI agents tracked De-Meyer as he moved through Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Switzerland and Morocco, according to testimony by one of the agents, before arresting him at Los Angeles International Airport.
The theft was first reported to the local East Hampton Village police department, police chief Michael Tracy told Wine Spectator. Soon after, the police called in the FBI. With investigations still ongoing, few details are available. "I will add that our federal partners at the FBI were eager to assist, and their expertise, and a great deal of work which they put into this case ultimately resulted in this arrest," said Tracy.
In a press release, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman praised the efforts of the FBI Art Crime Team, alleging that De-Meyer "stole over a million dollars' worth of some of the world's finest wines from his boss." (The Art Crime Team, which also investigates crimes related to other rare collectibles, famously arrested wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan in 2012.)
In the court case, Solomon is represented by assistant U.S. attorney Justin Rodriguez, who declined comment. Solomon could not be reached for comment.
In Los Angeles, De-Meyer was presented by federal public defender Neha Christerna, who could not be reached for comment. After being transported to New York, De-Meyer told agents he did not have an attorney yet.