Two property fraudsters involved in a million-pound con have been ordered to pay back just over £8,000.
Edwin McLaren, 56, and wife Lorraine, 65, were jailed for mortgage frauds which conned dozens of people in financial difficulty between 2008 and 2012.
The pair have been told to pay back just over £8,000 between them, but could have assets the acquire in the future seized.
McLaren was jailed for 11 years in 2017 for 25 counts of fraud which saw him enlist associates to act as purchasers.
He would then arrange mortgages and convince his victims to sign over their homes to these associates.
Fraud funded couple’s lavish lifestyle
But those unlucky enough to fall victim to McLaren never saw the proceeds, with the money paid directly to him to fund further frauds and his lavish lifestyle.
This included the lease of a £157,000 Bentley Continental, as well as mortgage payments on the £750,000 family home in Bridge of Weir he shared with Lorraine.
One couple from Fife lost more than £35,000 – with the Sunday Post reporting that the stress led to the husband suffering a massive cardiac arrest.
Lorraine McLaren, 65, meanwhile was convicted of two charges, including one of mortgage fraud.
On Friday, they were both made subject of Confiscation Orders at the High Court in Edinburgh.
The order shows McLaren was estimated to have benefited from criminal conduct by £1,722, 366.64 and an order has been made for £4000.
Lorraine McLaren was estimated to have benefited by £694,950 and an order has been made for £4,213.38.
The order was made on assets currently available, with the Crown able to extend the order to seize money and assets the McLaren’s acquire in the future to pay back the full amount they made from their crimes.
Mclaren ‘remorselessly conned vulnerable people’
Jennifer Harrower, procurator fiscal for serious casework, said: “Edwin McLaren carried out a series of calculated deceptions for years, remorselessly conning people who were struggling financially.
“His actions were conducted in such a covert way that it took investigators a considerable amount of time to unpick the chain of events before securing a conviction.
“Even after that conviction was secured, the Crown pursued proceeds of crime action to ensure the funds Edwin McLaren obtained illegally are confiscated.”
McLaren would persuade innocent people to sign over their houses to him in a complex scam.
According to court papers published after the sentencing at the High Court in Glasgow , the largest sum obtained in this way from a single transaction was £187,846 – from Stewart and Barbara Mitchell, of Peterhead.
McLaren had previously worked with the now notorious Alistair Greig – King of the Swindlers – although neither were involved with each other’s scams.
The McLaren’s property fraud empire was toppled by a Cowdenbeath woman who raised suspicions about their activities in 2012, prompting a police probe.
The trial heard evidence for over 320 days, making it the longest in UK legal history.
Defence lawyer Mark Moir said McLaren maintained his innocence after being found guilty.
In mitigation he added his client was a first time offender and the length of the trial had contributed to mental health issues.
Passing sentence in 2017, Lord Stewart said the jury had found McLaren was an “outright liar”.
“It appears your motivation was to secure funds from mortgage lenders to fund an affluent lifestyle,” Lord Stewart added.
In mitigation for Lorraine McLaren, her lawyer Kevin McCallum said her husband had a “controlling role in financial matters”.
He said there was no evidence she was involved in defrauding vulnerable people and described Edwin McLaren as the “driving force” of the scheme.
However, Lord Stewart said the jury must have found that she knew money transferred into her bank account came from the proceeds of crime.