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A liquor distributor that worked in relation to a product that was pitched on the ABC series Shark Tank has been sentenced to two years in prison after using money from investors to pay for his own bills. Joseph Falcone had business related to a wine-in-a-cup pitch on the show and leveraged that television appearance to get money from investors. He told them he’d use those investments to further the success of the product, the New York Post reports.
When the wine-in-a-cup concept was pitched on Shark Tank, it revolved around a single serving of wine in a plastic glass with a resealable lid. The concept was pitched as something individuals could enjoy at their own pace. At one point, Kevin O’Leary, also known as “Mr. Wonderful,” was interested in investing, but was unable to agree on terms of the partnership.
Still, Falcone used the product appearance on the popular television show to persuade other unnamed investors into contributing to his own company 3G’s VINO LLC, under the premise that money would go toward development the product from the show. Reports say that between September 2014 and November 2015, investors gave over $1.8 million to the wine product that appeared on the show. Instead, a portion of this money was used for Falcone’s personal bills including the mortgage on his home.
In June of 2019, Falcone pleaded guilty to raising money from investors and using them for his own bills and payments rather than for the advancement of his product. Falcone was sentenced to two years in federal prison last Friday and is now required to pay restitution to seven investors.
Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said in a statement: “Falcone’s victims were reeled in by his Shark Tank pitch, but with today’s sentence, the defendant is now squarely on the hook for his crimes.”
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