A solicitor has been struck off after claiming that fraudsters tricked him into believing he had won £1.825m on a lottery.
Hugh Lansdell, 70, was Senior Partner at Norwich-based firm Hansells. When fraudsters contacted him to say he had won £825,000 in a lottery he was mug enough to take the bait and respond. Presumably not quite believing their luck that such a senior lawyer could be so naïve, the crooks replied to say that the figure had bumped up to £1.825m and Lansdell needed only to cough up an administration fee for the cash to be his*.
Over a two year period Lansdell made 59 payments totalling £1.49m in a bid to release the funds. These were charged to 29 of Hansells’ clients. The SDT heard that a psychologist had found that Lansdell had 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”. Which possibly explains how he might have fallen for the scam in the first place.
How it might have looked.
Lansdell was busted after a colleague became suspicious. He admitted behaving dishonestly, and the Tribunal struck him off and ordered that he pay £27,000 in costs.
A spokeswoman for Hansells told RollOnFriday "The Solicitors’ Tribunal is one step along a path towards determining culpability or otherwise in matters of concern that Hansells raised with the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority and the Police in 2017, now 2 years ago. While those proceedings remain live, we cannot comment on testimony that has been put forward”.
The spokeswoman added “Hansells is a potential witness in the proceedings and, until the process of judicial determination has been concluded, it would not be correct for us to make any comment which could be prejudicial to the outcome of that process".
*A tip for readers who receive similar correspondence – here’s how you should respond.