A serial con man known to dress like James Bond has been jailed for at least 12 years after swindling more than $7.6 million from people including girlfriends and good friends.
Hamish Earle McLaren fleeced 16 victims – including Australian fashion designer Lisa Ho and his then-girlfriend Tracey Hall – in a series of frauds run from 2011 until July 2017, when he was arrested.
Ms Hall gave $317,000 to McLaren – who provided her with false tax invoices – and has never been paid back, the agreed facts state.
Ms Ho gave McLaren $850,000 in superannuation after he promised a low-risk investment with a high return.
She took him to court after being duped and McLaren was declared bankrupt in 2016 but continued his scam.
“He has had absolutely no compassion to the victims,” NSW District Court Acting Judge Colin Charteris said on Thursday.
Listen: Who the hell is Hamish? His ex-wife doesn’t know. Post continues after audio.
“To reveal the skill of this offender, he was able to persuade Ms Ho, an experienced businesswoman, and (her company’s) chief financial officer about his qualifications.”
Some $5.4 million has never been accounted for and McLaren has declined to say where it went, the judge said.
McLaren was sentenced to 16 years in jail, with a non-parole period of 12 years. He will be eligible for parole in July 2029.
The 49-year-old was arrested in 2017 after his multiple faux investment schemes – including in currency, gold and shares in a “profitable” Papua New Guinea gold mine – came unstuck.