'Ritz scam' accused blew £435,000 on 'a good time'

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The Independent Online

An alleged conman at the centre of a scam to sell the Ritz Hotel for £250 million said today he blew his share of a £1 million payment on having a good time.

Patrick Dolan, 68, said he received 644,000 euros, then worth about £435,000, from the alleged victims and spent 40,000 euros a day on betting on horse races.

He also bought a Mercedes, paid off his 46,000 euro mortgage, and spent the rest on himself.

"I had a good time," he told the jury at Southwark Crown Court in central London.

"A wise man told me there's no shops in the graveyard."

Speaking in his strong Irish accent, Dolan went on: "I paid off the little things, credit cards and things. I didn't owe much money to anyone.

"I spent the rest on myself.

"Forty thousand a day on races. I had a good time. I know everything about horses. I know them back to front."

Dolan and Anthony Lee, 49, are accused of targeting property dealer Terence Collins because of his interest in the high stakes world of trophy properties.

Solicitor Conn Farrell, 57, added credibility to the deal.

The trio chose their mark well, sucking him in with false promises until Mr Collins, funded by Dutch financier Marcus Boerkhoorn, handed over a £1 million deposit, the court was told.

But Dolan said the £1 million payment had nothing to do with the Ritz Hotel and related to a completely separate property deal in St Neots, Cambridgeshire.

Dolan, of Philip Lane, Tottenham, north London; Lee, of Broad Lane, Beal, Goole, East Yorkshire; and Farrell, of Cambridge Road, Aldershot, Hampshire, are on bail and all deny conspiracy to defraud between January 1 2006 and March 30 2007.