Fraudster Jailed For £1.6m Scam

13 June 2017, 12:37

High Court in Glasgow

A man who organised a large-scale property fraud has been jailed for 11 years after what was believed to have been the longest criminal trial in UK legal history

Edwin McLaren, 52, put together the £1.6 million property fraud scheme, which involved duping vulnerable victims in financial difficulty to sign over their homes.

He was found guilty of 29 charges in May following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow which began in September 2015 and heard evidence over 320 days.

He was sentenced to 11 years in jail on Tuesday.

His wife Lorraine McLaren, 51, was found guilty of two charges, involving a fraudulent mortgage application on their own home. She was sentenced to two-and-a-half years.

Prosecutors said Mr McLaren preyed on vulnerable people and arranged for the title deeds of their homes to be transferred to his associates without the victims' knowledge.

The trial lasted so long as the court heard evidence for a number of days from each witness on topics such as conveyancing and accountancy.

Some witnesses were vulnerable and one woman was so ill that the court took evidence from her in her house via video link.

Her living room was set up as a court, with a macer present to pass documents to her.

Only 12 jurors from the original 15 remained at the end of the case and at one stage there was a break of three weeks as one juror got married.

Passing sentence on Tuesday, judge Lord Stewart said: "The evidence shows frankly breathtaking dishonesty in every aspect of your enterprise.

"The jury have found you an outright liar.''

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