US News Couple found guilty of £1.7m property fraud after marathon court case

21:40  16 may  2017
21:40  16 may  2017 Source:   Press Association

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The case took place over around 320 days at the High Court in Glasgow. A couple have been found guilty of a large scale property fraud following what is believed to be the longest criminal trial in UK legal history.

A couple have been found guilty of a large scale property fraud following what is believed to be the longest criminal trial in UK legal history. He and his wife Lorraine McLaren, 51, were convicted following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow which began in September 2015 and heard evidence

Undated Police Scotland handouts of Edwin McLaren (left) and his wife Lorraine McLaren: (PA) © Provided by The Press Association (PA)

A couple have been found guilty of a large scale property fraud following what is believed to be the longest criminal trial in UK legal history.

Edwin McLaren, 52, put together the £1.7 million property fraud scheme, which involved duping vulnerable victims in financial difficulty to sign over their homes, police said.

He and his wife Lorraine McLaren, 51, were convicted following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow which began in September 2015 and heard evidence over 320 days.

They will be sentenced next month.

Police welcomed the conviction of the couple, from Renfrewshire.

Detective Superintendent Andy Lawson said: “The result of today’s lengthy court proceedings follows an extremely complex inquiry that is probably one of the largest, most complicated property fraud investigations ever carried out in Scotland.

An outside view of the High Court in Glasgow © Provided by The Press Association An outside view of the High Court in Glasgow

“A team of officers has investigated cases involving a number of victims the length and breadth of the country, who have been left completely distraught, some penniless and homeless, who have been disadvantaged financially – and all at the hands of the McLarens.

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“For over four years, detectives have worked tirelessly to unpick the network of banking transfers and legal documentation for 24 properties as part of this £1.7 million fraudulent conspiracy spanning a six-year period.

“McLaren orchestrated a series of scams including a ‘sell and rent back’ con, which involved duping vulnerable victims in financial difficulty to sign over their homes and subsequently by further deception, to trick them into transferring the proceeds of sale into an account controlled by Edwin McLaren.The trial started in the High Court in Glasgow in September 2015 (High Court in Glasgow)

“In some instances, he pretended to individuals that he would give them a loan to pay off their mortgage and other debts when in fact, he had arranged the sale of their property to an associate.

“He then continued to further deceive those victims by obtaining proceeds from the fraudulent sale from the victim. The fraud continued by using this cash as deposits for the next fraudulent transaction.”

He said that a team of specialist search officers, telecommunications and computer forensics experts, financial investigators and criminal analysts pored over “hundreds of thousands of documents” to follow the trail and identify those behind the racket.

Mr Lawson added: “Undoubtedly, the shameless actions of Edwin McLaren, who had the ability to persuade and dupe innocent victims and professionals into agreeing to his dishonest scheme, has wreaked devastation on many people, whilst they continued to live a life of luxury.

“These are heartless individuals, driven by greed, who were ruthless financial predators, and who despite pleas for help from their victims, chose to disregard them as they focused on their financial gain.”

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