Conman who swindled Ilford woman by posing as multi-millionaire fiance found guilty of fraud
- Credit: Met Police
A bogus wine mogul who spun a web of lies about his wealth by fraudulently posing as a jet-setting businessman has been found guilty of a £100,000 fraud.
A “serial-fraudster” who duped a number of victims in an elaborate con was found guilty on 22 counts of fraud at court today.
Lasse Hartmann, 43, of Cardinals Way, Archway, began his scam in early 2014 when he started an online relationship with food blogger Adanma Wokoh who lives in Ilford.
Posing as a multi-millionaire wine dealer named Lars Petraeus, he swindled thousands of pounds from the blogger over the course of a 17-month relationship.
After winning her trust by making lavish purchases which he would put on his American Express card, she allowed him to control two inactive bank accounts belonging to her.
In a statement online, Ms Wokoh said it was a very upsetting period of her life.
She said: “I don’t want to be pitied, it is true I lost a lot of money but I didn’t lose the things that matter most, my creativity, my family and friends.”
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Citing various tax and cash-flow problems, she ended up loaning him thousands of pounds that was never repaid.
He went on to fleece her friends in the industry and even duped a wedding planner, whom he had hired to plan his wedding to Ms Wokoh, into investing £5,500 into his wine venture.
The planner also lost around £25,000 in lost revenue from business he turned down because he was organising the bogus wedding.
An online meat-trader who had entered into a business partnership with him, lost £20,000 after paying Hartmann for wine, fridges and IT equipment, with further losses of £17,000.
Hartmann then used the prestige of the meat company’s reputation to steal £11,000 from other victims.
A personal assistant and chauffeur he hired to keep up the charade were also left out of pocket to the tune of £25,000 in unpaid wages.
The driver lost a further £2,500 which he thought was being invested in wine.
In total, Hartmann’s victims lost more than £104,000 to his fraud but only repaid £18,000, leaving many of the victims out of pocket for hundreds and thousands of pounds.
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 that she was going to marry him.
“He used her status as a respected food blogger to give him credibility and from there managed to convince a number of businesses to go into partnership with 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 sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on April 28.
He is also wanted by Danish authorities for breaching his sentence over there, for a similar scam and will be handed over once his sentence is served.
Following Hartmann’s conviction, Pc Ramsay was awarded a judge’s commendation for his “extensive investigation and diligent work” in the case.