Criminal Justice

Lawyer seeks return of his wine collection seized in liquor investigation


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A lawyer accused of selling expensive wines from his home in violation of Pennsylvania’s strict liquor laws is seeking the return of seized bottles worth an estimated $125,000.

Arthur Goldman was nabbed after selling wine to an undercover cop, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) and the Philadelphia Inquirer report. Police seized more than 2,400 bottles of wine from Goldman’s suburban Philadelphia home in Malvern and are planning to destroy it as contraband.

Goldman was accused of misdemeanor violations of Pennsylvania laws barring out-of-state wine shipments directly to customers and barring resale of the wine. The Wall Street Journal cites court records indicating that Goldman bought wine from California and had it shipped to New Jersey. Pennsylvania sells alcoholic beverages from state-run liquor stores; most of Goldman’s wines were not available there.

Goldman will have his record expunged if he completes probation and community service. His lawyer, Peter Kratsa, says Goldman emailed a wine list to 15 to 20 people and he only charged enough to cover his costs. Kratsa says most of the wine seized was part of Goldman’s personal collection rather than bottles destined for sale and should not be subject to forfeiture. Kratsa also says most of the wine was purchased while Goldman lived in New Jersey.

Is it worth the fight? The wine was seized when temperatures were as low as 6 degrees, and it is being stored in a police evidence room, the Inquirer says. Sgt. Dan Steele of the Liquor Control Enforcement’s bureau in Philadelphia told the newspaper he couldn’t comment on the wine’s “consumability.”

“At this point, the state police do not believe there is an obligation to store it in a climate-controled environment,” he told the Inquirer.

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