An unemployed lorry driver has been jailed for five years for organising an elaborate scam to sell London’s Ritz hotel for £250 million.
Anthony Lee, 49, of East Yorkshire, found victims who were interested in the prestigious Piccadilly hotel and pretended that he was a close business associate of the owners, the reclusive billionaires the Barclay brothers. He then conned them into handing over £1 million to kick start the purchase.
Jurors at Southwark Crown Court heard how Lee orchestrated the con which was based on “one great big lie”.
After the four-week trial, Patrick Dolan, of Tottenham, north London, was cleared of a conspiracy charge. Solicitor Conn Farrell, 57, from Aldershot, Hampshire, was also cleared of trying to fraudulently sell the hotel.
However Lee was found guilty of obtaining the money by deception. Lee convinced potential buyer Terence Collins that he was a “close friend and associate” of the Barclay brothers.
Sentencing him at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Stephen Robbins described the offence as an “elaborate and outrageous scam”.