Lottery finger

The Camelot God speaks

A solicitor has been jailed for defrauding clients of almost £2m in a bid to chase a bogus lottery win.

Hugh Lansdell, 74, was Senior Partner at Norwich-based firm Hansells. When fraudsters contacted him to say he had won £825,000 in a Spanish postcode lottery, he took the bait and responded.

Presumably not quite believing their luck that such a senior lawyer could be so naïve, the crooks told Lansdell that the jackpot was actually £1.825m, and he needed to cough up a 'non-resident tax' for the cash. The scammers then demanded further payments*.

The experienced solicitor handed over all his and his wife's money to the crooks, before stealing from the firm's client accounts in a bid to release the non-existent money. 

Over a two year period from 2015 to 2017, Lansdell made 72 fraudulent payments totalling around £1.85m from client accounts, as well as investment portfolios held on trust in his control. 29 of Hansells’ clients and two charities were affected.

Lansdell initially told the firm that the money had been invested in a scheme. However, he was finally busted when a partner demanded the funds be returned and Lansdell failed to give the money back. In 2019, the SDT struck him off the roll. 

The former partner has now appeared before the Norwich Crown Court where he admitted fraud by abuse of position.

The CPS prosecutor told the court: "After falling victim to a scam himself, Hugh Lansdell exploited his significant position of trust as a senior partner to take an extraordinary amount of money from clients."

Will Carter, defending Lansdell, said his client was "blinded by faith" not greed, and had intended to give the money to his local church for renovations and to establish a hostel in Norwich, according to a report in The Daily Mail.

The defence barrister said that Lansdell was a "deeply religious" man and a devout Christian and had been a "victim of fraud" after believing that God was answering his prayers.

Carter added that his client had "lost almost everything, including his wife" and now "lived on his own having been declared bankrupt."

The court sentenced Lansdell to four years in prison.  

Hansells did not respond to a request for comment.

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Anonymous 29 September 23 08:39

So he gave to the scammers as much as they said they would give to him, £1.8m? Man, he was in deep 

Hey, Nonny Mouse! 29 September 23 09:11

Not to excuse the conduct at all, but it's very sad for any person to be duped in this way. 

Anon 29 September 23 11:06

Possibly too harsh a sentence given he was obviously duped and has personally suffered?  Not to excuse this.  It is very sad for all involved.  

Fool and his money 29 September 23 12:06

I know he was chasing his losses but to pay almost £2m to get £1.825m seems nonsensical

Anonymous Anonymous 29 September 23 12:26

Another example of giving the legal profession a bad name. Punishment needs to be severe.

Criminal 29 September 23 13:52

Surely his defence should be been 'Complete Insanity'.  

- He gave the scammers more money than he would have received!

- I thought all senior partners earned at least £3m per year anyway 

- He was not even going to keep the money for himself and was just going to give it away to the deserving poor.  Suspect the local church is surprised.  Wonder how much money he has donated to them over the years.  

- He was hearing voices ... God was speaking to him and answering his prayers. 

- He is 74 - he might have that speshal dementia that Ernest Saunders had ... you know the one that gets better once you are freed from jail but is so bad when you're in jail that you have to be released for compassionate reasons.  

Why didn't his defence barrister employ the same expert to testify that he has speshal dementia.  


Criminal 29 September 23 14:14

@Anonymous 29 September 23 12:37

You don't need to buy tickets for any international lotteries.  You just win them.  Somehow.  

Je Suis Monty Don l’Autobus 29 September 23 15:42

Four years is harsh tbh

he lost all his money to scammers who exploited him - literally all of it

did any of his clients lose literally all their money?

Anon 29 September 23 17:53

I'll never forget when someone who had been part of NRF's internal KYC/AML team for years was duped.  The "police" rang her to say someone had cloned her credit cards.  Then said they thought it was part of an internal conspiracy at her bank and they wanted to set up a sting to catch the fraudsters. Could she withdraw all her savings so they could use the cash to catch them? She withdrew thousands and the police met her in a side road at the back of the office where she gave them the bag of cash. I couldn't believe she fell for something so dumb and was considered one of the seniors of the AML team.  I asked her were they in a uniform?  No, plain clothes.  Were they in a marked police car?  No, ordinary car.  Did they give her a receipt?  No.  Don't you think the police would give you a receipt?  Slowly dawns on her.  Didn't she realise that the police don't use civilians for stings?  Ohhh...  Did it occur to her that the police could source funds without using a civilian's???  Oh....

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