Professional fraudster from Archway guilty of £104,000 wine con
- Credit: Archant
A professional fraudster posed as a jet-setting businessman to convince people to invest £104,000 in wine packages – and used the cash to fund his champagne lifestyle.
Lasse Hartmann, of Cardinals Way, Archway, was found guilty of 22 counts of fraud at Snaresbrook Crown Court today.
The 43-year-old’s elaborate con started in early 2014 when he began an online relationship with a woman from Ilford, posing as a multi-millionaire wine dealer named Lars Petraeus.
He squeezed thousands of pounds out of the influential food blogger, who put him in touch with contacts in her industry who were also fleeced by Hartmann.
One online meat-trader who entered into a partnership with him lost £20,000 after paying him for wine, fridges and IT equipment, on top of further losses of £17,000.
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Hartmann then used the meat company’s reputation to steal £11,000 from other victims and even hired a personal assistant and a chauffeur to keep up the charade – they were left out of pocket to the tune of £25,000 in unpaid wages.
A wedding planner invested £5,500 into his bogus wine ventures and turned down £25,000 worth of other work to plan Hartmann’s fake wedding to the food blogger.
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In total, he scammed more than £104,000 off people and only paid back £18,000.
Pc Alex Ramsay, who investigated the case, said: “Hartmann is a professional conman and fraudster. He didn’t care about the people he was hurting, either financially or emotionally.
“He exploited everyone around him, not least the woman who thought she was going to marry him.
“He never had any intention of delivering his side of the bargain and simply used their money to fund his lavish lifestyle and gambling habit. He is now facing the very real prospect of time in prison, which reflects the devastation and misery he has caused to such a large number of victims.”
Hartmann will be sentenced at Snaresbrook on April 28. He is also wanted by Danish police for breaching terms of his sentence for a similar scam there, and will be handed over once his sentence is served.
Following his conviction, Pc Ramsay was honoured with a judge’s commendation for his “extensive investigation and diligent work” in the case.