Leon Brittan’s Brother Suffers At The Hands Of A Fraudster

Sir Samuel Brittan, who is the brother of former home secretary Leon Brittan, has been cruelly swindled out of his life’s savings.

An arrest warrant has been issued for the conwoman, Michelle Braithwaite, who stole over £115,000 from author Sir Samuel Brittan.

While suffering from reduced mental capacity, Braithwaite, who acted as his carer, plundered Sir Brittan’s money on holidays and designer clothes.

Due to the 85-year-old’s declining mental cognitive, his finances were being looked after by his widowed sister-in-law, Lady Diane Brittan.

However, the fraudster, who was described in a psychiatric report as a “compulsive liar” had befriended Lady Brittan to earn her trust so she could make various purchases for her own enjoyment.

Braithwaite had conned Sir Brittan by making hundreds of purchases and transfers from his American Express card between the period of August 2016 and April 2017.

The conwoman was due to attend court last week for sentencing but couldn’t as she claimed she was too ill.

Braithwaite had lied in police interviews claiming she was a Cambridge graduate and lawyer said Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith.

After frequent non-attendances from court with inadequate explanations, the fraudster finally gave evidence via video link but pretended that she did not understand what was going on.

A psychiatric report concluded that she was most likely “feigning physical symptoms to seek leniency from the court”.

While an experienced probation officer also claimed Braithwaite’s “memory issues are selective and she is duplicitous and manipulative”.

Having had a history of deception in 2003, where she was convicted of fraud, it was time she was punished for the crimes she had committed.

Michelle Braithwaite, who resided in Kensington and Chelsea in West London, pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud and one of theft.

This is a deceptive and callous act on a vulnerable man but the same can happen in business, especially in legal firms where email modification fraud is rife. Hackers will frequently target firms, pretending to be somebody they are not and deceive the recipient, who in this case, is your clients and employees.  

As conveyancing is the highest risk area of law due to large amounts of money being transferred, it is vital that you take a proactive approach to security by implementing the appropriate technology which will safeguard your future client data and funds.

The key to preventing such attacks on your firm lies in a cohesive strategy including; raising awareness of such threats to your staff by organising training courses; develop processes to help staff take the best course of action in case of an attack; and implement appropriate technology that ultimately prevent the attacks from happening in the first place.

As a conveyancer, what measures/policies do you have in place to prevent such attacks?

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