Nicolas De-Meyer, 41, was expected to plead guilty in a Manhattan court on Oct. 9, but fell from a window on the 33rd floor of the Carlyle Hotel in New York.
De-Meyer was Solomon’s personal assistant for eight years from 2008 to 2016 but was caught stealing hundreds of bottles of rare wine from the CEO and then selling them to a North Carolina dealer under an alias.
He had been helping to move the wine from Manhattan to Solomon’s cellar in East Hampton and had stolen the wine to resell under the alias “Mark Miller.”
Investigators said De-Meyer had used the money he made to embark on a 14-month trip around the world.
Solomon was made Goldman Sachs chief executive in July and is known for collecting vintage wine.
According to court papers, some of the bottles of the stolen wine were from the French estate Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which is widely regarded as producing some of the rarest and most expensive wines in the world.
Indeed, their rarity was De-Meyer’s undoing, because a Napa Valley art dealer recognized the bottles and tipped off Solomon.
‘He Was Scared … He Couldn’t Go to Prison’
After confessing to the Solomons at a hotel in 2016, De-Meyer boarded a plane to Rome, but was eventually apprehended at Los Angeles International Airport in January 2018.
“He said he was scared, and he couldn’t go to prison, that’s why he left,” prosecutor Justin Rodriguez told the judge following his arrest last year, according to the New York Post.
It was unclear exactly how long he would have spent in prison under a plea deal, but he was facing up to 10 years for the charge of interstate transportation of stolen property.
De-Meyer had been living at his mother’s house in Findlay, Ohio, recently and traveled to New York ahead of his hearing on Oct. 9.
Staff at the Carlyle Hotel were alerted by De-Meyer’s sister who received text messages from him saying he might kill himself, police said.
Security staff forced open his door, according to police, but were unable to intervene before he fell. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police are investigating the case as a suicide.
Solomon said in a statement that he and his wife were “deeply saddened to hear that Nicolas took his own life. He was close to our family for several years, and we are all heartbroken to hear of his tragic end.”
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.