A teenager on work experience at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has been jailed for five months after stealing thousands of pounds from the magic circle law firm.
Titilayo Olaifa, who was on placement in Freshfields’ accounts department through the Career Academies UK internship programme, stole 11 cheques and wrote six totaling £60,000 to herself.
Four of the cheques were stopped before they could be cashed, but two others, for a total of £13,500, were processed and the money withdrawn. Freshfields’ bank has written down the cost of cashing the cheques with neither the firm or its clients having to fund the theft.
A spokesperson for Freshfields said: “We’re committed as ever to the Career Academies UK programme. This is an isolated and regrettable incident.”
Olaifa, from East London, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday (8 July) after pleading guilty to one count of theft and one of “fraud by abuse of position” at a hearing in June 2007.
Olaifa, now 19, completed two placements at Freshfields. The first between July and August 2005 and the second in June 2008.
The Career Academies UK internship programme provides six-week paid placement opportunities to typically middle achieving students from non-traditional backgrounds.