In a slick promotional film, Casey Alexander raises a glass of whisky to toast its complex flavours – and also the huge profits it can make for the canny investor. He drips water from a pipette into his dram and declares: ‘It has what is called an exothermic reaction and that basically opens up the flavour compounds inside.’
Introducing himself as senior wealth manager at Vintage Whisky – a firm that boasts its core values are honesty and integrity – he warms to his theme: the handsome rewards to be made from the ‘glamorous and lucrative’ market in high-quality single malts and rare Scotch.
Looking at the video clip, it is easy to see why people would be happy to hand over their cash and savings, enticed by the apparent guarantee of stellar returns.
Yet for all the presentational glitter, the promises turned out to be little more than fool’s gold. For last week Alexander appeared in court in the US and admitted carrying out the biggest whisky scam the world has ever seen – having used ‘aggressive and deceptive tactics’ to swindle $13 million (around £10.5 million) from 150 elderly investors.
Presenting Vintage Whisky as a ‘specialist in sourcing the most difficult to find and rarest single malt Scotch whisky casks’, he cold-called pensioners offering massive profits which never materialised.
According to MailOnline, the 26-year-old now faces up to 20 years in jail. And although his persuasive scam has been shut down, foiled by the FBI, the number of similar fraudulent schemes in the UK is on the increase – all based on the international press – and soaring value of Scotland’s national drink.
Experts have warned that a lack of regulation in the market for whisky casks means would-be investors can become easy prey for conmen.
Meanwhile victims of such scams have told The Scottish Mail on Sunday they lost out on thousands, having been tricked into what they now see was a too-good-to-be-true investment.