Police said he illegally sold high-end wine from his Malvern cellar
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times
On his Facebook page, a 49-year-old Malvern lawyer identifies himself as a graduate of Lower Merion High School, Harvard University, and Cornell University Law School, but authorities suggest his illicit activities belied his extensive education.
On Monday, Jan. 13, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office announced charges against Arthur David Goldman for importing and selling high-end wine without a liquor license. The Pennsylvania State Police seized over $150,000 worth of wine from Goldman’s residence.
“The defendant imported a collection of high-end wine that included over two thousand bottles. He made those wines available for sale to his own private list of customers knowing that it was illegal,” said First Assistant District Attorney Michael Noone. “This was not some casual exchange of wine between friends: The defendant was running a highly organized, high-volume illegal business operation to make money.”
The investigation surfaced in March 2013 when the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement received a tip that Goldman was selling high-end wine that was not available through Pennsylvania Wine and Spirit Stores, the criminal complaint said, adding that Goldman does not have a liquor license that would permit him to import, purchase, or sell any type of alcohol in Pennsylvania.
Acting undercover, the state police contacted Goldman, who, the complaint said, initially asked: “How do I know you aren’t an agent for the PLCB?” Once Goldman was satisfied with the undercover agent’s answer, he provided agents with a 97-page list of wines that were available for sale either from his personal wine cellar or that he could order that were not available in Pennsylvania, the complaint said. Goldman maintained an email list to let potential buyers know which wines were available, the complaint said.
After making multiple undercover purchases of wine from Goldman for prices that averaged more than $50 a bottle, police executed a search warrant on Jan. 6, at Goldman’s Malvern home, seizing 2,426 bottles of high-end wine valued between $150,000 and $200,000.
Goldman told an undercover agent that “he makes a few bucks from selling” wine; when he orders shipments he usually receives one to two bottles free from the extra money he makes from selling the wine to his customers, a routine for more than 10 years, the complaint said. The wine was typically shipped from California to an address in New Jersey, the complaint said.
“The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement would like to thank the community for their involvement and cooperation with this investigation,” said Capt. Mark J. Crossan, operations division director for the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement. “The investigation came to light through positive community interaction with bureau personnel. Such interactions help us continue our goal of ridding our communities of criminal activities, regardless of the nature.”
Goldman is charged with multiple, ungraded misdemeanors, Noone said. A fine of nearly $200,000 could be assessed if he is convicted, and the alcohol is subject to being forfeited, Noone said.
“This was a brazen violation of the law by someone who clearly knew better,” said Noone. “He knew what he was doing was wrong, but he continued to systematically break the law.”