By Denny Walsh
Mark C. Anderson, the man who burned up hundreds-of-millions of dollars worth of fine wine in a failed attempt to cover-up his theft of wine, was sentenced Tuesday in Sacramento federal court to 27 years in prison.
Anderson, 63, of Sausalito, was also ordered to pay clients of his wine storage business $70.3 million in restitution. Each victim suffered losses ranging from tens-of-thousands to hundreds-of-thousands of dollars.
As part of a guilty plea he later repudiated and tried unsuccessfully to withdraw, Anderson admitted torching the Wines Central warehouse in Vallejo on Oct. 12, 2005. The wine Anderson stored there for his clients was a small part of the inventory.
The structure was destroyed at a loss conservatively estimated to be $200 to $250 million, the largest single loss in the history of the American wine industry.
Anderson had been pilfering clients' wine since 2001, selling it and pocketing the money, but not reporting the income from his thievery to the Internal Revenue Service.