Glasgow & West Scotland

Crown seek £5.3m from man jailed after UK's longest trial

edwin mclaren
Image caption Edwin McLaren was jailed for 11 years for the fraud

Prosecutors are seeking more than £5m from a conman who was convicted after the UK's longest ever criminal trial.

Edwin McLaren and his wife Lorraine were both jailed in 2017 for a £1.6m property fraud scheme.

Prosecutors previously sought £1m and then £3m from McLaren but that figure has now increased to £5.3m.

The trial of the couple, from Renfrewshire, started in September 2015 at the High Court in Glasgow and heard 320 days of evidence.

The father-of-two, who is representing himself, accused prosecutors of incompetence hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh.

McLaren said: "The figure has now reached £5m. When I was convicted, it was £1m. Then it was £3m and it was £3m a few weeks back.

"It's now £5m - the Crown seem to be in disarray. The people who are doing this don't know what they're doing."

McLaren was sentenced to 11 years in 2017 for his involvement in the scam.

Image caption The McLarens lived a lavish lifestyle on the proceeds of defrauding vulnerable people

The father-of-two was found guilty of 29 charges after a trial which is estimated to have cost £7.5m.

His 54-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 but was released after nine months.

Prosecutors are also seeking to recover £169,000 from Lorraine McLaren.

During a two-year police inquiry, 48 properties were investigated under a property fraud scheme where the owner's title deeds were transferred without their knowledge.

The crimes took place between April 2008 and November 2012.

Image caption Edwin McLaren (right) with his wife Lorraine

Jurors heard of the couple's lavish lifestyle included luxury holidays in Dubai and private schools for their children.

McLaren was described by trial judge Lord Stewart as showing "breathtaking dishonesty" and branded "an outright liar".

The fraudster left victims out of pocket and in some cases homeless.

At a hearing last month, McLaren told Lord Arthurson that prosecutors were seeking to seize his £800,000 home in Bridge of Weir.

'Defective'

McLaren appeared from custody and sat beside his wife in the dock during the procedural hearing.

He told Lord Arthurson that he believed he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

The court heard that Scottish judges and the UK Supreme Court have rejected his appeal bids.

McLaren said: "I have lodged an appeal with the European Court on Human Rights."

He also told the judge that he has reported his former lawyers to legal watchdogs because he alleges their representation was "defective."

At the end of the hearing Lord Arthurson fixed further a three-day hearing in June, in which he will hear evidence from the Crown about McLaren's wealth and why it believes it should be confiscated.

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