A woman who swindled HK$2 million from neighbours and friends, claiming she needed the money for a legal battle over HK$19 million in horse-racing winnings, was sentenced to more than four years in jail yesterday. Law Ho-lui, 47 and unemployed, was ordered at District Court to serve 42 months for five counts of fraud and 12 months for one count of perverting the course of justice, for a total of 54 months in jail. Deputy Judge Josiah Lam Wai-kuen said he did not believe that Law had won at the races. She could not, he said, recall her winning numbers, the date when she placed her bet, or the name of the winning horse, nor did she have newspaper clippings of the races for the day she claimed she won. Although Law earlier alleged that police had threatened her, and scared her by throwing down a bundle of papers during an interview, to extract a confession, Judge Lam said Law appeared calm and answered quickly in a video of that meeting. Law has no money to pay any compensation, said Freddy Woon Jee-quan, her defence counsel. She has no previous convictions. Law has four children. Three are aged four, 23, and 25. The court did not hear the age of the fourth. She has been living off her elder children's income. Her live-in boyfriend died last April, Mr Woon said. Law tricked the victims by saying she and a male colleague - identified only as 'Hung Chai' - had each bet HK$70 on a race in 2003. She learned she had won through colleagues, but Hung then disappeared. Her boss, identified as Mr Wong, said he would help her with the legal battle, she said. Ha Kee-him, a security guard, Cheung Shu-wan, a friend, and three neighbourhood fishmongers - Leung Lai-ping, Leung Ngan-ping and Leung Shun-choi - lent Law a total HK$2.251 million for the legal battle from 2004 to 2007.