Teen plunders thousands from Freshfields

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  • Thanks not very much

    Magic circle law firms are massively over-subscribed for jobs, so when they offer work experience to middle achieving candidates put forward by diversity organisations it is out of a sense of charity, not necessity.

    This girl was not a great ambassador for people from "non-traditional backgrounds"

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  • Second time unlucky?

    Why did she come back for a second work experience stint, and two years later at that? Pretty unusual. I can't help but suspect that she came back with the theft in mind.

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  • Thieving thief.

    She would have made a great lawyer...

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  • 3 days?

    One report I read online said that she started producing the cheques just three days in to the job - true?

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  • Last post

    Can't have been much longer - most work experience placements only last a week, and very rarely more than two.

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  • Magic Circle Accounts

    What ever happened to basic office procedures? Signatures? Counter signatures? Who would give a work experience intern. the company cheque book? Who authorised the raising of the cheques? Who is in charge of the accounts? Paul Daniels and Debbie Magee?

    It seriously begs a lot of questions, and some P45's


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  • I agree

    Was the entire department just there on work experience?

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  • "Plunders"!

    Was she a pirate queen? Or a Viking?

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  • Yeah

    Full marks for seeking the dolla, G

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  • sticky fingers

    It's human nature: people will always thieve from their fellow man and even the hand that feeds them. it doesn't matter if you're on work experience or a share partner at Latham and Watkins- you're equally capable of putting your hand in the till. can't blame Freshfields or the access scheme.

    Large amounts don't grow on trees - and some people will attempt to pick a pocket or two, or in this case six.

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  • Sad sad sad!

    This incident illustrates exactly why firms choose to recruit the types of people with whom they are comfortable.

    As previously mentioned, some basic office procedures are lacking; nonetheless, 'non-traditional' recruitment will come under greater scrutiny.

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  • Human nature (re. 'Sticky Fingers', 15.18)

    It might be human nature to be tempted to steal, but its called 'having a conscience' to resist your crappy impulses.

    And yes, you can blame Freshfields, if not the scheme: they shouldn't allow a work experience kid near the chequebook, even if they might reasonably also expect her to know better.

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  • Clever

    Do you reckon they would offer her a training contract?

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  • Silly non traditional girl

    I guess being black and a lawyer is now non traditional.

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  • Background irrelevant

    Some of the comments hear have implied that the "non-traditional" background of the person in question has some bearing on things, but I couldn't disagree more.

    have (in my professional capacity, I hasten to add) had plenty of dealings with people who have stolen from their employers, and majority of them have been white, male, middle class, middle managers.

    Some people will give in to temptation when they should know better, but that particular character flaw has nothing to do with background.

    I do think it's shocking, however, that Freshfields didn't have suitable safeguards in place - it's one thing for a manager to fiddle the books, but an intern should not have been able to do something like this.

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  • Not just picking up loose change

    I agree that she shouldn't have had the opportunity - but we're not talking about pinching a fiver from petty cash (not that that's acceptable either) - we're talking £60k.

    Seems clear that she sought out an opportunity to steal, and steal huge sums, rather than just being tempted by a cash box left unlocked.

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  • 'Non traditional' backgrounds

    Ethnicity does not affect someone's likleihood to do something, but their culture and their upbringing obviously do.

    Olaifa to me sounds like a Nigerian name, and while OF COURSE not all Nigerian are scammers, most people would recognise that, at least online, Nigerians are world-beaters when it comes to attempts to commit fraud. And that must be something cultural - which is why you can't say the same about people from Ghana, Japan, Brazil or France.

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  • Non Traditional Girl

    Strange how so many commentators seem to infer that this immature girl's behaviour was a reflection of her culture/background. She was clearly unsupervised or not managed at all by Freshfields so they MUST bear some responsibility.

    But, credit is also due to to Freshfields, for they acknowledge that this young lady DOES NOT reflect the overwhelmingly decent under privileged kids who are doing their best to distance themselves from the prevailing negativity- so often associated with them - by continuing to support such important work experience initiatives.

    Clearly, now is NOT the time to give up on these kids.

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  • Any chance

    She could lend me a tenner ?

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  • Leave Freshfields alone

    Seems needless to start having a pop at Freshfields. All of us - whether we're vacation students or partners - have the opportunity to steal from our offices every day, if we're so minded. But most of us don't. Get on our high horses about Freshfields needing tighter procedures and (a) firms will scale down their commitment to this type of scheme; and (b) all of our working lives will become more bureaucratic as new controls are put in place. Does anyone want either of those things?

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  • Freshfields teen plunder blunder

    Client accounts beware?

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  • Freshfields teen plunder blunder (2)

    Before commentators dig themselves into some truly gargantuan holes, the expression 'non-traditional' needs definition. Where did it come from, anyway?

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  • Ethnicity is Irrelevant

    This could have been done by anyone. This work experience just did it!

    What is amazing is that a company like this, dealing in such large amounts of client money could have this happen!

    I wonder what measures they are taking to assure their clients that this will not happen again.

    It shows a total lack of professionalism within the accounts department! They should be asking for the accountant and supervisors' resignations! Look out for jobs being advertised in the "top ten law firm's accounts department" to see how seriously they took this!


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  • Non-Traditional Background !!

    It seems it is being suggested that this young lady's conduct is as a result of her so called "non-traditional background" and indeed Freshfields has itself to blame taking on people of her ilk as interns! that's a real shame ! Most white-collar crimes are commited by middle class brats !

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  • Re: white collar crime (16.31)

    Re the post at 16.31, if most white-collar crime really is done by 'middle class brats', it's probably because so are most white-collar jobs.

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  • Non-traditional?

    The mere fact that this discriminatory term has been unearthed is also a case to discuss and in itself shows a very narrow minded view to real life and what on earth has class got to do with anything... a lot of white collar crime is carried out by extremely powerful people - Euro MPs come to mind, British MP's, high ranking business people etc...

    However as so far as the thief is concerned, £60 is £60k and stealing from those who trusted in her and offered her experience should be punishable. Let her off? What message does that send out?

    Punish hard but offer an olive branch once the punishment has been served and maybe give her a second chance?

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  • Are you serious?

    John, surely you're kidding? Why ON EARTH would they want to employ her once she's come out of the young offenders institute? She robbed the firm blind when she was there, and wasn't even an employee in the first place.

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  • re: white collar crime

    People stealing from their employers?

    'twas ever thus

    Brigadier Papa will reap the benefits.

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  • 'Non traditional' backgrounds

    The person who suggested that it is to do with someone's culture and Nigerian culture teaches fraud and crime needs to go back to reading the Daily Mail because their assertion is absolutely ridiculous.

    If you want to go down that route then Pakistani culture must teach their citizens to be terrorists, Eastern European culture teaches their citizens to be people smugglers etc etc.

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  • Think of this

    Don't you all think this has been done on purpose? Just to make everyone see how great Freshfields is as a law firm and we all feel sorry for them ? Mind over matter....

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  • Re 'Think of this', 10.08

    Make them look great? Doesn't it just make them look a bit thick and disorganised?

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  • Theft

    I have two children both of whom are applying for training contracts on their educational merits and not because they are black.

    They are certainly not underprivileged, but my fear is that law firms will begin to close their doors and opportunities to ethic minorities because of incidents like this, lets face it white people steal, but somehow it is not always highly publicised as when a minority does it.

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  • Re 'Theft'

    I don't see why your children should be discriminated against because of this incident. The people who may suffer will be the ones that take advantage of schemes like the one mentioned in the story. If your kids are just applying for contracts through the normal channels, I can't really see how it affects them.

    As for the idea that when white people steal it isn't reported, that simply isn't true. The Lawyer did loads about Mel Weiss from Milberg, for instance. And nowhere in the story above did it mention she is black - people just inferred it from her Nigerian name. Do you even know that she is?

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  • Culture and crime

    Regarding the comments earlier about culture and behaviour, clearly the idea that someone's skin colour compels them to act in a certain way is offensive and nonsensical.

    However the idea that one's CULTURE is an influence how one behaves is obviously true - it for this reason that, for instance, people from some cultures never discuss sex while others do, people from some cultures eat animals that other cultures never would, people from some cultures are offended by bare breasts while others aren't and so on.

    For this reason, then, if we recognise that different cultures have different attitudes to different things, it doesn't seem unreasonable to think that would extend to fraud.

    That Nigerians have a reputation for fraud may not be fair, then, but it isn't racist - people originating from Ghana, Burkina Faso or Mozambique don't have that reputation, though they are every bit as black as Nigerians.

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  • Thanks

    Thank you Anthony, for being one the first to show some common sense. I salute you! Surely the point of this article is that well-meaning intentions can backfire.

    And that maybe, just maybe, some people with 'non-traditional' upbringings are more prone to activities of this nature than others. White people with 'non-traditional' backgrounds steal too- its the background that's important, not the colour!

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  • Systems

    Presumably the only possible failure on Freshfields' part is the fact that this student could get hold of the cheques in the first place (and the article suggests that, as she was in the accounts department on work experience, this can't have been difficult).

    Given that she was doubtless not a registered signatory on Freshfields' accounts, the systems question mark is surely more at the bank's level - why did it cash these cheques if they were not properly signed?

    Presumably the bank has absorbed that loss as an article on another legal magazine website states neither Freshfields nor its clients lost any money from this.

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  • Been Caught Stealing

    Maybe Boris will give her a job in the City Hall accounts department when she gets out of chokey? Now that's what I call positive discrimination...

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  • We're not all like that!!

    It's a shame that this girl was given such a wonderful opportunity and abused it in such away. Where she could have gone with a name such as Freshfields on her CV...now all she has is a criminal record... what a shame.

    I just hope that she's learnt her lesson and all ppl, whether they are white, black, Asian do not follow down the same route ,and also that major companies like this do not start to discriminate because of one stupid person's actions. We're not all like this, despite what some ppl might think :0(

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  • concentrate on the issue

    This lady is a criminal. There are no moral, social or political dimensions - and no excuses. She stole from her employer in a premeditated way and must be punished. She should also be deported at the end of her sentence to prevent her re-offending in this country, and to send a message to other criminals that the harshest penalties will be meted out to those who breach the trust of their employers.

    It is a shame that she is Nigerian as well as a criminal. This has allowed all of the ne'er do wells with a political agenda to crawl out from under their politically correct, or incorrect, rocks and try to divert attention to the race issue. Thieves should be punished - end of story.

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  • Race nothing to do with it

    At my last firm one of the partners (white, middle class, male) was caught siphoning off money from elderly clients' accounts (he was the head of Wills and Probate. He was struck off but amazingly he escaped prison and just got community service. Fair?!

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  • Race/nationality

    This is not a comment about whether one's culture and/or upbringing make one more or less likely to behave in a certain way, but just to clarify some terms, 'race' and 'nationality' are not the same. Whatever one thinks about Nigeria, Nigerian people's RACE is not 'Nigerian', it is 'Afro-Caribbean.' Nigerian is their NATIONALITY.

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  • Re: race nothing to do with it?

    Cynical Cynthia, could you give us a clue which firm?

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  • Race and Deportation

    Actually a Nigerian is an African and not an Afro-Caribbean. Secondly, re the comment requiring that she be deported post her prison sentence, surely the fact of her Nigerian name does not preclude her from being a British citizen.

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  • Teen plunders Freshfields

    Dr Martin Luther King Jr's dream that one day people of colour will be judged not on the colour of their skin but on the content of their character is one I hold dear. As an Afro-Canadian /American with limited exposure to Nigerians I query whether, as one reader commented, her conduct was due to her being Nigerian. Does she come from a family and/or culture where appropriating or taking whatever one desires is an admirable quality? Couldn't it be that she is both Nigerian and British?

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  • Teen plunders thousands from Freshfields

    As a city lawyer with a Nigerian origin I could only sigh when I read all the comments below. I am infuriated and yet again embarrassed that some IDIOT has given the world another reason to associate Nigerians with fraud. Will this never end?

    Not all Nigerians are fraudulent and please let's get something clear – fraud, or whatever criminal behaviour, is most certainly not our culture! Indeed there have been a plethora of cases about greedy, lazy, inconsequential Nigerians who just want to get rich quick without doing the hard work and for that reason I don't blame the illiterates who think this behaviour is our way of life.

    The majority simply know right from wrong but the minority, who don't know or choose not to behave with decorum, always get the spotlight!

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  • The young people of East London

    "Idiot gal"*

    *in an East London accent

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  • Titi has been involved in more fraud

    The girl is a professional fraudster with a decieving angelic face, and pretentious sophisticated and well mannered behaviour!


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  • Teenage Stress

    I think that it is this sort of delinguent behaviour that causes other youngsters to be given a very bad name, "What the hell was she thinking?" I wish that i had her opportunity to work at such a reputable firm in the UK.

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    can Nigerians stop stealing Ghanaain passports and puting their names on tthem.I am fed up of hearing these stories its giving ghana a bad name its happening in Italy and countries Nigerians find it difficult to ebnter due to visa denisal by the embassies and consulates. the it is an every day occurance in south africa the embass=y staff are called to the police station to find a Nigerian claiming to be Ghanian yet cannot speak a word any of the many dialects in Ghana

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