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Prosecutors seek to confiscate £5.3m from property fraud convict

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  • 14/01/2020
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Prosecutors seek to confiscate £5.3m from property fraud convict
The High Court in Edinburgh has fixed a date to hear evidence from Scotland’s prosecution service about confiscating £5.3m from a convicted property fraudster.

 

Fraudster Edwin McLaren was convicted on 29 charges relating to a £1.6m property fraud scheme and jailed for 11 years in 2017.

Lorraine McLaren, his wife, was convicted of two charges and jailed for two-and-a-half years.

McLaren appeared from custody at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday accompanied by his wife in the dock for the hearing.

The sum sought by prosecutors has been revised up since the time of the original conviction, from £1m to £3m and then to £5.3m.

According to BBC News, McLaren said: “The Crown seem to be in disarray. The people who are doing this don’t know what they’re doing.”

McLaren also told judge Lord Arthurson that he believed himself the victim of a miscarriage of justice and had lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights.

 

Fraudulent mortgages

The property fraud case has become the longest trial in Scottish and UK history. The original trial was heard by judge Lord Stewart at the High Court in Glasgow starting in September 2015 and comprising 320 days of evidence.

At the time, Lord Stewart said McLaren had targeted householders in financial difficulty and tricked them into signing over ownership of their homes.

The victims believed they were releasing equity in their homes when actually they were transferring full ownership of their property.

McLaren organised ownership transfers not to himself but to family and friends and he also raised mortgages on the properties.

In one case, the victims, a couple, were living in a cancer care centre when he turned up with forms for them to sign.

The McLarens reportedly lived a lavish lifestyle, driving a Bentley, holidaying in Dubai and paying for their children to be privately educated.

BBC News reported at the time that Lord Stewart said: “The evidence showed breathtaking dishonesty in every aspect of your enterprise by you and those acting on your instructions.”

The police said in 2017 that the case was “one of the largest, most complicated property fraud investigations ever carried out in Scotland.”

Scotland’s prosecution service, the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service, will now seek to confiscate £5.3m from McLaren under proceeds of crime legislation, at a three-day long hearing scheduled for June 2020. 

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