The Wild Scam To "Sell" The London Ritz
Anthony Lee was an unemployed driver who was able to persuade a property developer to hand over £1 million as part of a deal to buy the hotel. He had convinced the potential buyer Terence Collins that he was a "close friend and associate" of the Barclay brothers, the billionaire owners of the hotel. But the Barclays were totally unaware of Lee or his efforts to sell their property.
Collins handed over the £1 million, which was financed by a Dutch billionaire Marcus Boekhoorn, in 2006 but no deal was ever made and the money was never returned. In court Lee said that the money was from a separate property deal. But Collins testified that he agreed to refer to the payment as an introductory fee for a deal in North Yorkshire for "accounting reasons."
At the sentencing Judge Stephen Robbins said to Lee: "You were found guilty by a jury of this elaborate and outrageous scam, purporting to sell the Ritz Hotel, thereby obtaining £1 million from your victim."