PROSECUTORS are seeking more than £5million from a Renfrewshire fraudster who was convicted after Scotland’s longest ever criminal trial.

Edwin McLaren, 54, faces the prospect of having to hand over more than £5.3m to the Crown under Proceeds of Crime legislation.

Prosecutors previously sought £1m and then £3m from McLaren, formerly of Bridge of Weir.

Now the Crown has revised the figure being sought from the dad-of-two, who was jailed for 11 years in 2017 for his involvement in a £1.6m property fraud scheme.

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.

READ MORE: Fraudster faces losing his home under Proceeds of Crime action

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 behind bars but was released after nine months.

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

During his 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, expensive jewellery and private schools for their children.

McLaren, who drove a Bentley, was described by trial judge Lord Stewart as showing “breathtaking dishonesty.”

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.

He returned to the High Court in Edinburgh today, appearing from custody and sitting beside his wife in the dock during a procedural hearing. She was represented by Jim Keegan QC.

McLaren, who is representing himself, told Lord Arthurson he believes he is the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

The court also 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 he has reported his former lawyers to legal watchdogs because their representation was allegedly “defective.”

At the end of the hearing, Lord Arthurson fixed a further three-day hearing in which he will listen to evidence from the Crown about what they say is McLaren’s wealth and why it should be confiscated.

Those proceedings will take place in June, with a further procedural hearing scheduled for February 24.

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