11 years for fraudster who tricked victims to sign over title deeds
A fraudster who persuaded homeowners to sign over their properties has been sentenced to eleven years in prison.
After the longest criminal trial in UK history, Edwin McLaren was found guilty of 29 charges at Glasgow’s High Court, with the evidence being heard over a 320-day period.
The 52-year old financial adviser targeted vulnerable victims by creating adverts for property solution companies and having them published in national newspapers.
As the individuals would usually be going through economic difficulties, McLaren would offer to purchase their home or provide them with a loan so any debts would be cleared.
He led them to believe he was offering, in return, a part-share ownership of their home. However, McLaren was instead transferring the title deeds of the properties into the names of his associates.
During the process, clients were given small amounts of money to string them along but never received the anticipated amount.
Using the accumulated funds, estimated to be £1.6 million, police stated that McLaren indulged in extravagant holidays and expensive cars.
His wife Lorraine was found guilty of two charges and sentenced to two-and-a-half years. One of these related to an application for a fraudulent mortgage on the couple’s own home.
The pair were caught after an extensive police investigation, with the indictment showing a total of 29 properties.
The length of the trial was due to the high volume of evidence, much of it relating to complex topics.
When delivering the sentence, Lord Stewart told the fraudster: “The evidence shows frankly breathtaking dishonesty in every aspect of your enterprise. The jury have found you an outright liar.”
According to prosecutors, McLaren maintained his innocence throughout the trial, showing no remorse for his actions.