Crown secures £4000 from fraudster who made almost £2m

Edwin McLaren was jailed for 11 years in 2017 for his involvement in a £1.6m property fraud scheme.

Crown secures £4000 from fraudster who made almost £2m Police Scotland

Prosecutors have seized £4000 from a fraudster who made £1.7m during his life of crime. 

Edwin McLaren, 56, agreed to hand the sum to Crown lawyers to bring to an end a proceeds of crime action against him and his wife Lorraine. 

McLaren and his wife, of Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, are responsible for Scotland’s longest-ever criminal trial. 

McLaren was jailed for 11 years in 2017 for his involvement in a £1.6m property fraud scheme. He was found guilty of 29 charges after a trial at the High Court in Glasgow that began in September 2015 and heard evidence over 320 days. 

His 55-year-old wife Lorraine was found guilty of two charges involving a fraudulent mortgage application on their own home and money laundering involving a sum of £128,000. 

She was sentenced to two-and-a-half years behind bars but was released after nine months. 

On Friday, prosecutor Murdo MacTaggart told judge Lord Arthurson that the Crown and McLaren had agreed that McLaren had made £1,722,366.64 during his “course of criminal conduct”. 

However, both sides had agreed that the Crown could only recover £4000 from McLaren at this point in time. 

Meanwhile, Lorraine’s advocate Tony Lenehan, told the court that she had also came to an agreement with the Crown – she had made £694,950 from criminal conduct.

However, prosecutors can only recover £4,215.38 from her at this time. 

The legislation on proceeds of crime means that the Crown can return to court to seize more money if it becomes aware that the McLarens have more assets. McLaren told the court that he “agreed” that the £1.7m figure was correct. 

He added: “There were others who have benefited from that figure including the clients.”

During his trial, a court heard how McLaren preyed on vulnerable people by arranging for the title deeds of their homes to be transferred to his associates without the victims’ knowledge. 

The estimated cost of the 20-month trial was £7.5m. Jurors heard of the couple’s lavish lifestyle, which included luxury holidays in Dubai and spending £100,000 on a ring for her and private schools for their children. 

At one point during the long running proceeds of crime action, prosecutors wanted McLaren to explain £9m that they say passed through his bank accounts. 

Edwin McLaren was asked by Crown lawyers to explain if he obtained the cash through legal means. McLaren accused Crown lawyers of incompetence.

He said that prosecutors had originally sought him to explain the origins of £1.6m of cash that had passed through this account and that this figure had repeatedly changed. 

McLaren, who was representing himself, said: “First, they said the figure was £1.6m and it was then £3m and it was £5m and now they want £9m. 

“The Crown have treated my wife and I with tremendous disrespect.”

Lord Arthurson made an order stating that the McLarens should hand the cash over within six months. 

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code