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2-Buck Chuck Lands '$2-Million George' in Court

George Osumi of Newport Beach allegedly swiped $2.7 million in wine from a storage cellar he operated in Irvine, replacing the bottles with cheaper stuff. Bail is set at $4 million.

2-Buck Chuck Lands '$2-Million George' in Court

A Newport Beach man accused of stealing $2.7 million worth of wine from his clients' storage lockers and replacing the bottles with a cheaper brand is scheduled for arraignment Nov. 2.

Prosecutors have uncorked numerous charges against 64-year-old George Osumi, including grand theft, second-degree commercial burglary, embezzlement, receiving stolen property and possession of burglary tools.

If convicted, he faces 16 years in another kind of storage locker -- state prison.

According to prosecutors, Osumi conducted the wine heists between January 2008 and June of this year. During that period, he operated Irvine-based Legend Cellars, which charged clients upwards of $2,500 a year to store wine in locked chambers kept at a steady 57 degrees and 65 percent humidity.

The company's website promises 24-hour security using motion detectors, cameras and regular patrols.

But on three occasions, Osumi allegedly broke into his clients' private stashes and spirited away millions of dollars worth of wine, replacing the vino with much cheaper stuff.

After one theft, he allegedly hired an unwitting friend to auction off the stolen wine in exchange for a share of the proceeds. Osumi then deposited his own cut of the loot -- about $280,000 -- into a business account and used the money to cover personal expenses and legal fees, prosecutors said.

Between July 2011 and June 2012, Osumi is accused of auctioning off more stolen wine and depositing $311,000 into his business account.

The good times ended after one of the cellar's clients filed a stolen wine report with the Irvine Police Department. Osumi was arrested Friday and held on $4-million bail, according to online jail records.

His arraignment was initially set for Friday, then pushed back to early November.

In the meantime, clients of Legend Cellars are urged to contact Irvine Police Detective Sarah Tunnicliffe at 949-724-7170 before Nov. 30 to reclaim their wine collections.

Earlier this year, Osumi was indicted on unrelated charges of underpaying workers comp insurance premiums for his construction business, tax evasion, perjury and identity theft, according to the district attorney's office.

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