Woman who claimed to be friend of Hil­lary Clin­ton faces jail term

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - NEWS -

A north-east woman boasted of her friend­ship with Hil­lary Clin­ton in a bid to de­fraud film­mak­ers out of £120,000 for ac­cess to the politi­cian’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, a court heard.

Ann Leuser, 56, who used a stooge to im­per­son­ate a mem­ber of Mrs Clin­ton’s cam­paign team to swin­dle Bri­tish film­maker Ali­son Bir­ley, is now fac­ing jail.

She ne­go­ti­ated and signed a con­tract with the pro­ducer, claim­ing she could of­fer be­hindthe-scenes ac­cess to the Demo­cratic can­di­date’s elec­tion drive in ex­change for £120,000.

The deal, in­clud­ing four pay­ments of £30,000, dis­hon­estly stated that she per­son­ally knew Mrs Clin­ton and other mem­bers of her staff. Leuser also ar­ranged a £3,434 all-ex­penses-paid trip to New York as part of the scam, which was car­ried out be­tween April 1, 2016 and Jan­uary 31, 2017.

She sub­se­quently ad­mit­ted she never had any type of re­la­tion­ship with Mrs Clin­ton, apart from a brief en­counter at an event.

Ms Bir­ley is a TV and film pro­ducer with pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies Bongo Films, Hawk­stone Films, Make Waves Slaves and TBACT.

Leuser ad­mit­ted two counts of fraud by false rep­re­sen­ta­tion at South­wark Crown Court.

But, in re­la­tion to the al­leged agree­ment for £120,000, she claimed she re­ceived no money from the ruse and that the first £30,000 tranche would only have been paid once filming had started.

De­fend­ing her, Re­becca Ni­eto said: “She be­lieved she could go to Amer­ica and she be­lieved she could gain this be­hind-the-scenes ac­cess for this pro­duc­tion.

“The de­fen­dant says she was un­der the im­pres­sion it was only af­ter filming started she would re­ceive the first tranche of money. So, ef­fec­tively, there would have been no fraud there be­cause she would have gained ac­cess by this point.”

Judge Stephen Daw­son set a hear­ing for Novem­ber 10 to hear fur­ther ev­i­dence and rule on Leuser’s ac­count.

Leuser, of Top­pin Gar­dens, Fraser­burgh, was bailed to ap­pear at In­ner London Crown Court next month.

Ann Leuser of­fered be­hind-the-scenes ac­cess

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