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Ex-Napa wine executive sentenced in $900,000 embezzlement

  • Martin Christopher Edwards (CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES)

SAN FRANCISCO — Federal authorities say a former Napa wine executive who fled the country to avoid embezzlement and tax evasion charges has been sentenced to 33 months in prison.

As part of a plea deal, Martin Christopher Edwards also has been ordered to pay nearly $900,000 in restitution to the Wine Tasting Network for his role in the schemes.

The 48-year-old Edwards pleaded guilty in April after he was indicted last year on 23 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Federal agents found Edwards in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in January.

Authorities say Edwards created a fictitious business claiming to provide tax compliance services to his employer, The Winetasting Network, a subsidiary of 1-800 Flowers, for over two years.

Edwards deposited the money into an account, but did not declare it on his federal income tax returns.


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