The independent London newspaper

Conman posing as wine dealer fooled food blogger girlfriend

Fraudster encouraged people to pay for wine and champagne that never materialised

18 April, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

Lasse Hartmann

A CONMAN is facing a jail term after posing as a multi-millionaire international businessman offering lucrative wine deals, when in fact he was funding his “lavish lifestyle and gambling habit”.

Lasse Hartmann, 43, claimed that he had been in the Danish special forces and was knighted there but in reality he had moved to the UK after being released from a prison in Denmark for scamming his own father out of large sums of money.

Hartmann, who was using the alias Lars Petraeus, claimed to be a well-connected businessman trading in the global wine industry. Many of his victims were persuaded to part with money for wine packages and champagne at a discount rate which never materialised – with Hartmann claiming they were “stuck in customs”.

Hartmann, of Cardinals Way, Archway, was found guilty last Thursday at Snaresbrook Crown Court of 22 counts of fraud involving 20 people that were carried out between January 2014 and October 2015.

Hartmann also won the trust of his girlfriend by making lavish purchases using his American Express card before she was persuaded to loan him several thousand pounds which was never repaid. He even hired a driver, a personal assistant and a wedding planner, but broke promises to pay them.

The direct loss to his victims was around £102,000 but the overall estimated business losses were more than £120,000.

PC Alex Ramsay, from the Met’s Falcon Unit, was awarded a judge’s commendation for his work on the case.  He 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.”

Hartmann is due to be sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, April 28.

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