Fraudster Edwin McLaren complains Crown’s proceeds of crime action ‘affecting his health’

Edwin McLaren
Edwin McLaren (Image: Police Scotland)

A businessman who made ¬£1.7m from exploiting seriously ill homeowners has told a court how a “malicious” proceeds of crime action is impacting his own health.

Edwin McLaren, 58, told judge Lord Arthurson that proceedings in the long-running case are having a negative impact on his wellbeing.

The High Court in¬†Edinburgh¬†also heard McLaren describe the action – brought by prosecutors to recover his ill-gotten gains for the benefit of the public – as “malicious”.

He said the action was stopping him and his wife from accessing their pensions and had deprived his daughter of a quantity of jewellery.

The court heard that Police Scotland had seized the jewellery during the probe into his and his wife Lorraine’s activities.

‘This is affecting my health’

On Friday, McLaren asked Lord Arthurson to dismiss the action.

McLaren, who represented himself, said the current action was taking a toll on him.

He said: “This is affecting my health. It is damaging my health.

“I would ask your lordship to give us back my daughter’s jewellery and to have access to our pensions.

“I ask you to dismiss the applications. It is malicious.”

The judge refused to grant McLaren’s request and ordered the pair to return to court for another hearing next month.

Lorraine McLaren. Pic: Police Scotland
Lorraine McLaren. (Image: Police Scotland)

 

The couple, from Bridge of Weir in Renfrewshire, were 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.

McLaren’s wife, also 58, was found guilty of two charges involving a fraudulent mortgage application on their own home and money laundering involving a sum of ¬£128,000.

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

During their 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.

In 2021, prosecutor Murdo MacTaggart told Lord Arthurson that the Crown and McLaren had agreed that he had made ¬£1,722,366.64 during his “course of criminal conduct”.

However, both sides had agreed that the Crown could only recover £4,000 from McLaren at that point in time.

Meanwhile, Mrs McLaren’s advocate, Tony Lenehan KC, told the court that she had made ¬£694,950 from criminal conduct. However, prosecutors could only recover ¬£4,215.38 from her at that time.

The Crown have returned to court to seize more assets from the duo under proceeds of crime action.

The new sums being sought haven’t been disclosed.

Prosecutor Dan Byrne told the court at an earlier hearing that the Crown were seeking to confiscate cash in a Royal London pension account held by McLaren.

Lord Arthurson fixed a procedural hearing for 26 September ahead of a full hearing scheduled in October.

Source:  Sky News news.sky.com

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