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Fantasist sentenced to 44 months for claiming to have documentary access to Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign

  • Fantasist jailed for deceiving documentary producer about Hilary Clinton friendship
  • City of London Police's Fraud Squad investigation uncovered extensive deception

Today [Friday 10 November 2017], Ann Leuser, 56 of Fraserburgh, Scotland, was sentenced to 44 months at Inner London Crown Court for fraud by false representation after she convinced a UK-based film and documentary producer that she could gain behind the scenes filming access to Hillary Clinton, the US Democratic Party Presidential Candidate, and her campaign.

The City of London Police Fraud Squad found that over a period of 10 months, Leuser sent fraudulent emails to a producer allegedly from members of the Clinton Campaign Team, including the Director of Communications, Jennifer Palmieri and Robby Mook, the Chief of Staff. She also went so far as to pay a professional actress £5,000 to unwittingly impersonate Palmieri on a phone call to the documentary production team in November 2015. Even during questioning when faced with the evidence, Leuser maintained that she had a close connection with Clinton and her Campaign Team but refused to comment further.

Having first contacted the producer in 2010 about another documentary, Leuser told her that Clinton was going to run for the Presidency two days before the Democratic Party Candidate announced her plans to do so in April 2015. Leuser then attempted to enter into a contract with the producer for plans to film a fly on the wall documentary about Clinton’s campaign.

It was agreed that if Leuser presented an access letter from Hillary Clinton to the production team she would be paid £30,000 immediately, and three further payments of £30,000 would be made at various periods of the filming process.

In addition to several all expenses paid trips to London to meet with the production team, Leuser flew to New York in October 2015 under the premise of getting the access letter signed. She claimed to travel to a Democratic Party Convention in Las Vegas during this trip. However, this claim was later refuted by receipts showing that she remained in New York for the entire trip and when Leuser presented a forged access letter in her attempt to fulfil the contract, the fraud began to unravel.

The production company’s suspicions were confirmed after a colleague based in the US visited the Brooklyn headquarters of the Hillary Clinton Campaign for a meeting in late 2015, only to find that there was no legitimate access letter, there had never been any negotiations with the Clinton Campaign Team and Leuser was not known to anyone within the Team. The company reported her to the City of London Police in February 2016.

With the allegation and information provided, City of London Police Officers, accompanied by a Police Scotland Officer conducted a search of Leuser’s property in April 2016. A phone and receipts were seized detailing her contact with the documentary producer and team, evidencing the fraud. No evidence was found of a friendship between Leuser and Clinton.

Although Leuser was present when the search of her home address was carried out, her arrest was delayed after she claimed a circulatory problem did not permit her to travel for long periods of time. This was despite her ability to make the trip to New York paid for by the production team. She agreed to be interviewed under caution on 25 May 2016 when suitable travel arrangements were put in place.

Detective Sergeant Barry Murray said: “Hillary Clinton’s campaign for US President was at the centre of extensive media scrutiny. Leuser used her personality to capitalise on this opportunity, deceiving industry professionals and gaining a trip to New York along the way. She continually perpetuated the myth of her friendship with Clinton without thinking of the consequences when the truth was exposed.

“Today’s result reflects not only the extent of deception orchestrated by Leuser, but also the distress that this caused to the television producer over a number of months.”

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