Skip to main content
Press Release

International Businessman Sentenced To Two Years In Prison In Connection With Wine Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today that OMAR KHAN was sentenced to two years in prison by U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer in connection with an investment fraud scheme involving rare and expensive wines and his impersonation of his attorney in furtherance of that scheme.  KHAN previously pled guilty on March 28, 2024, to one count of aggravated identity theft.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Whether a fraudulent scheme involves business ventures, cryptocurrency, or expensive wines, the career prosecutors of this Office will bring justice to the perpetrators of these crimes.  Omar Khan fleeced his victims of millions of dollars, leaving devastation in the wake of his lies, but he now justly faces two years in federal prison and has been ordered to make restitution to his victims.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said: “Omar Khan’s wine-and-dine scheme did not age well.  For four years, Khan exploited the prestigious reputation of the wine industry to embezzle millions of dollars from well-intended investors using empty promises of future, lavish networking events while offering excuses for the lack of returns.  He utilized his public notoriety as a wine aficionado to lure and coax his victims into financing significant amounts, costing some the entirety of their investments.  Today’s sentence emphasizes the FBI’s tireless efforts investigating those who manipulate their social status and relationships to deprive others of their wealth.”

According to the charging documents and other filings and statements made in court:

From in or about 2015 through 2019, OMAR KHAN orchestrated a global fraud scheme involving the solicitation of investments for wine tasting and networking events.  KHAN founded and operated a management consulting firm (“Firm-1”) in New York, New York.  Firm‑1’s website described KHAN as one of “the most global consultants and speakers in the world.”  KHAN has been profiled by Forbes Magazine as a “fanatical wine connoisseur.”

KHAN hosted networking events for successful and wealthy individuals at which he would privately solicit victims to invest in ventures and events involving rare, vintage wines and expensive dinners.  For example, on or about December 13, 2017, KHAN hosted a dinner, which he titled, “An Evening of Daring Duos and Tantalizing Trios,” at which KHAN served vintage wines and a variety of expensive food items, including Nantucket bay scallops, oysters, caviar, risotto cooked in bone marrow broth, uni served in its shell, and jalapeño foam. 

At these extravagant dinners and networking events, KHAN would solicit individuals to invest in other expensive dinners, networking events, and ventures.  KHAN represented to his investors that they would earn a profit on their investment.  KHAN frequently lied to prospective investors to induce investments.  With few exceptions, KHAN embezzled his investors’ investment monies and used the proceeds on personal expenditures.  KHAN then made additional false statements to his investors to excuse his failure to pay them back. 

For example, one of KHAN’s victims (“Victim-1”) was a New York retiree who in early 2015 attended one of KHAN’s dinner parties which involved expensive wines and expensive cuisine.  After that first dinner, KHAN began to actively communicate with Victim-1, and they formed a friendship.  After Victim-1 attended several of those events, KHAN solicited Victim-1 to invest his money with KHAN to put on similar wine and dinner events for other wealthy individuals.  At first, Victim-1 invested smaller amounts of money for the dinner events.  Later on, Victim-1 began to invest larger sums of money with KHAN.

In approximately 2018, KHAN induced Victim-1 to pool all of Victim-1’s investments to date into one large, purported consulting deal.  In doing so, KHAN had Victim-1 invest approximately $5,000,000 with a famous French vineyard located in Bordeaux, France (“Vineyard-1”).  KHAN pitched this investment as a consulting deal that involved a New York club backed by Vineyard-1.  After stalling for several months, KHAN began to make up excuses about why there was a delay in closing the deal.  For example, KHAN falsely claimed in an email to Victim-1 that Victim-1’s money “was on the move” but the very next day falsely claimed that the IRS had placed a lien on his business account for unrelated activity in Dubai (“IRS slapped a lien on us, due to ‘unusual activity,’ ‘unpaid taxes’ and various other allegations, which I learned of this morning to my shock.”). 

Likewise, in February 2018, KHAN falsely claimed to another victim (“Victim-2”) that KHAN’s bank had delayed a bank transfer from KHAN to Victim-2 due to a lack of authorization documents.  In a March 2018 email, KHAN falsely told Victim-2 that KHAN’s attorneys had sent legal demands to the bank to resolve the issue.  In both these emails, KHAN purported to forward emails from KHAN’s attorney about the delayed bank wire.  The March email also stated that KHAN’s attorneys had “issued a legal demand” to the bank to resolve the issue with the delayed bank wire.  The emails appearing to be sent from KHAN’s lawyer were fraudulent, and KHAN had sent them impersonating his own lawyer.

On or about September 3, 2019, multiple victims commenced a civil lawsuit against KHAN (the “Khan Lawsuit”), alleging that KHAN induced them to invest in wine dinners and ventures on the basis of fraudulent misrepresentations.  In early September, the New York Post published multiple articles about KHAN — one concerning the Khan Lawsuit and another about a criminal investigation into KHAN’s ventures.  KHAN then left the country, ultimately residing at a hotel in Sri Lanka for several years.  In February 2024, KHAN was expelled from Sri Lanka and arrested at John F. Kennedy airport in New York.

*                *                *

In addition to the prison term, OMAR KHAN, 58, was sentenced to one year of supervised release and ordered to make restitution to the victims in the amount of $6,699,582.

Mr. Williams praised the investigative work of the FBI.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Chiuchiolo and Nicholas Folly are in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff, Shelby Wratchford
(212) 637-2600

Updated June 10, 2024

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Press Release Number: 24-207