A woman has been jailed after duping film-makers into believing she could get them behind-the-scenes access to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
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Ann Leuser fraudulently claimed to have a close connection with the former US secretary of state and tried to enter into a contract for a fly-on-the-wall documentary.
The 56-year-old of Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, even paid an actress £5,000 to impersonate Mrs Clinton’s director of communications Jennifer Palmieri over the phone.
During a period of 10 months, she sent fraudulent emails to a producer claiming to be from members of the Clinton campaign team.
The scam saw her get several all expenses paid trips to London as well as being flown to New York under the premise of getting an access letter signed.
It had been agreed that if Leuser presented an access letter from the presidential candidate to the UK-based production team she would be paid £30,000 immediately.
She would also receive three further payments of £30,000 during the filming process.
In October 2015, Leuser claimed she had travelled to a Democratic Party Convention in Las Vegas, but actually remained in New York for the entire trip and forged an access letter in an attempt to fulfil the contract.
Someone from the production company then visited the Brooklyn headquarters of the Clinton campaign for a meeting in late 2015.
It was found there was no legitimate access letter, there had never been any negotiations with the Clinton campaign team and Leuser was not known to anyone there.
The company reported her to the City of London Police in February 2016 which then opened an investigation.
Accompanied by a Police Scotland officer, Leuser’s property was searched in April 2016.
Phone and receipts were seized detailing her contact with the documentary producer and team.
No evidence was found of a friendship between Leuser and Mrs Clinton.
During questioning, Leuser maintained she had a close connection with the then-presidential candidate and her campaign team but refused to comment further.
Leuser was sentenced to 44 months at Inner London Crown Court on Friday for fraud by false representation.
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.”
Democrat Mrs Clinton lost out in the 2016 US presidential race to Republican candidate Donald Trump.