Brit Lawyer Jailed for Embezzling £1.85M Chasing Fake Lottery Jackpot

Posted on: October 2, 2023, 02:33h. 

Last updated on: October 2, 2023, 09:09h.

A top British lawyer who embezzled £1.85 million from his clients’ accounts to give to lottery fraudsters has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Hugh Lansdell, Hansells, lottery fraud
Hugh Lansdell, seen above, was a senior partner in a law firm until he was found to have plundered clients’ money to chase a bogus lottery dream. (Image: Daily Mail)

Hugh Lansdell, 74, pleaded guilty in September to one count of fraud by abuse of position after admitting to stealing money between 2015 and 2017.

The devout Christian earlier received a letter informing him that he had won £825,000 on the Spanish Lottery but would need to make a £41K tax payment to unlock the jackpot because he was not a resident of Spain.

Lansdell incredibly bought the ruse, believing that “God had answered his prayers.” And his credulity continued as the “prize money” increased over time, and tax demands escalated. Ultimately, he believed he would receive £10 million.

Religious Fervor

Lansdell, of Norwich, England, siphoned £1.5 million from clients of Hansells. At this law firm, he was a senior partner and another £350K from two charitable organizations, of which he was a trustee.

A psychological report presented to the court suggested that Lansdell was suffering from a kind of “mental illness.”

He appears to have developed an overvalued belief in both the power of prayer and the guidance of God, which then informed his interpretation of unfolding events and his decision making,” the report stated.

“Unfortunately, it would seem that the overvalued belief in the guidance of God resulted in an inability to think rationally about the unfolding situation and led him to make some very serious errors of judgment.”

‘Broken Man’

His defense attorney, Will Carter, described his client as a “broken man,” having lost “almost everything, including his wife. He now lives on his own and has declared bankruptcy. He was disbarred in 2019.

Carter said Lansdell had wanted to give the money to his local church for renovations and establish a hostel in Norwich. He was “blinded by faith” and not greed, and the case “could not be more tragic,” Carter added.

But when Hansells discovered the money was missing and confronted Lansdell, he lied and made numerous excuses about investing the money elsewhere before finally admitting to the lottery scheme.

“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,” said Emma Beazley, Specialist Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

“The CPS is committed to working with police to bring fraudulent offenders to justice and will be pursuing confiscation proceedings in this case,” she added.