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