Georgetown graduate Soma Sengupta may have been undone by sheer vanity. Sengupta had secured a position practicing in London based on a series of false documents and claims of her professional and educational history. However, it was her claim to be eight years younger than she is that caught the eye of a female clerk. The clerk raised the alarm over the misrepresentation and soon discovered the application to practice in England was riddled with false documents, including a letter of recommendation signed by Professor Robert Drinan a year after his death.
Sengupta claimed in her application to a British law firm to be an honor graduate who worked as a prosecutor with the Manhattan District Attorney and Legal Aid Society. It resulted in a rare occasion of being sworn in at the Middle Temple Hall where some of the greatest barristers have stood since 1602, including Sir William Blackstone.
Her application claim to be 29 caught the eye of a clerk. She is in her late 40s. Had she simply shaved off a couple years, she might still be practicing as a barrister. She was just 90 days away from being qualified as a full fledged barrister. Instead, the carefully constructed false record came undone. Born in India, Sengupta did in fact graduate from Georgetown but that was one of the few true statements in these papers. Ironically, to secure a prior position, she represented herself as not graduating from Georgetown but quitting before graduation because the position barred the hiring of lawyers. That falsehood was later discovered and she found herself in London where the misrepresentations grew.
She is now facing forgery and fraud charges in New York.
Regrettably, her scandalous case has forced the London bar to change its long-standing policy of relying on the representations of lawyers under an honor system. It took an American lawyer to change hundreds of years of tradition. Now applicants must verify key qualifications.
Source: NY Times