A FRAUDSTER who conned vulnerable people in a property scam has failed in a bid to have a £5million Proceeds of Crime action against him dropped.

Prosecutors are seeking the huge sum from 55-year-old Renfrewshire man Edwin McLaren, who was convicted after Scotland’s longest ever criminal trial.

They are also demanding £167,000 from his wife Lorraine.

At the High Court in Glasgow last week, the couple demanded that the action against them should be binned.

However, judge Lord Arthurson threw out their bid and told them the Proceeds of Crime case will continue.

The couple, from Bridge of Weir, claimed proceedings were taking too long.

McLaren was jailed for 11 years in 2017 as a result of his involvement in a £1.6m property fraud scheme.

He preyed on vulnerable people by arranging to have the deeds to their houses transferred to his associates without their knowledge.

McLaren was found guilty of 29 charges after a trial that lasted 320 days.

His wife, also 55, was convicted of mortgage fraud and money laundering and was jailed for two-and-a-half years but was released after nine months behind bars.

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

McLaren was described by trial judge Lord Stewart as showing “breathtaking dishonesty.”

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

However, at his latest court appearance, McLaren claimed the Crown had “dilly-dallied” since the first Proceeds of Crime hearing last August.

Prosecutor Murdoch McTaggart earlier stated there were time issues due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that the court accountant dealing with the case is a single parent who has two children and is working from home.

Mr McTaggart said: “For the last four weeks, she has worked on nothing but this case in the evenings and weekends.”

However, Mrs McLaren said: “We are told about someone working from home with children but I’m not interested in that.

“I need to get on with my life, as to have this drag on is having a detrimental effect on my health.”

During the hearing, which began at 2pm, McLaren stated: “I have been here since 8.45am and it is difficult and especially distressing.”

However, Mr McTaggart asked Lord Arthurson for more time, due to the “interests of justice.”

Agreeing to this, Lord Arthurson continued the case until next month for the prosecutors’ statement to be prepared.

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