Christian solicitor whole stole nearly £2m from clients is jailed
Devout Christian solicitor who stole nearly £2m from clients to chase Spanish lottery jackpot he had been duped into believing that he’d won is jailed for four years
- Hugh Lansdell, 74, was a senior partner at Norfolk firm Hansells during the fraud
- The lawyer believed ‘God had answered his prayers’ when he thought he’d won
A devout Christian solicitor who stole £1.85 million from his clients’ accounts, in a bid to chase a Spanish lottery winnings he had been scammed into believing he’d won, has been jailed for four years.
Hugh Lansdell, 74, was a senior partner at Norfolk firm Hansells when he stole the money between 2015 and 2017.
The disgraced solicitor believed ‘God had answered his prayers’ when he received a letter saying he was in line for £825,000 jackpot, but could only receive the winnings after making a £41,000 payment for ‘non-resident tax’.
The court heard that Lansdell had ‘lost almost everything’ after being declared bankrupt, as well as his wife after the lawyer lost her money too.
He said he was ‘about as low as anyone could be’ adding the case ‘could not be more tragic’.
Disgraced lawyer Hugh Lansdell, 74, was jailed for four years after he admitted fraud by abuse of position
Norwich Crown Court heard that the demands increased over time, with Lansdell ultimately believing he was in line for more than £10 million.
Lansdell, of The Close, Norwich, was struck off in 2019, after taking £1.5 million from clients and another £350,000 from two charities where he was a trustee,
The 74-year-old initially told the firm was being invested as part of a scheme that his sister-in-law had introduced him to.
The firm demanded that the funds be returned immediately after deeming his so-called investment ‘not appropriate’.
After failing to return the funds, Lansdell was struck off, suffering a ‘spectacular fall from grace’.
He was told his behaviour had ‘besmirched the entire profession’ when he admitted fraud by abuse of position on Friday 22 September after pleading guilty earlier this year.
Will Carter, defending, said his client was a broken man who said he intended to give the money to his local church for renovations and to establish a hostel in Norwich – was ‘blinded by his faith’, not greed.
Lansdell was a senior partner at Norfolk firm Hansells (pictured) when he stole the money between 2015 and 2017
Lansdell was told his behaviour had ‘besmirched the entire profession’ when he admitted fraud by abuse of position at Norwich Crown Court (pictured) on Friday
Mr Carter added that Lansdell, who was ‘deeply religious’ and a devout Christian had been a ‘victim’ of fraud after believing that ‘God was answering his prayers’.
Recorder John Hardy said Lansdell had ‘suffered a spectacular fall from grace’ and was now ‘broken’.
He said: ‘You’ve ended up in this position for one reason only and that was you yourself were a victim of an advance fee fraud’.
Mr Carter said the disgraced lawyer ‘lost almost everything’, including his wife and he now lived on his own having been declared bankrupt.
The barrister said Lansdell had lost his own money, his wife’s money, his home, his friends, his self-esteem, and his reputation.
He said he was ‘about as low as anyone could be’, adding that the case ‘could not be more tragic’.
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