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The photo that undid fraudster Hamish McLaren, the focus of your latest podcast obsession.

Hamish McLaren told many lies, but it was a simple hobby that became his downfall.

In an eight-part podcast series, titled ‘Who The Hell is Hamish? award-winning journalist Greg Bearup investigates the crimes of the convicted fraudster.

Going by various names, McLaren, 48, lived in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney and took $7.66 million from 15 separate victims. Among them, was Australian fashion designer Lisa Ho.

He pretended to be a barrister, a Harvard graduate, a survivor of September 11, and an investment fund manager, in order to manipulate his victims around the world.

hamish-mclarin
Hamish McLaren.

He also happened to like running.

Stephen Priest was the friend of one of McLaren's UK victims, a man who had invested in McLaren's investment fund to aid with the treatment of his sick son. When his friend failed to receive any money, Priest became suspicious.

He did some digging into 'Hamish Maxwell', the name McLaren was using in London in 2015, and discovered he enjoyed long-distance running and endurance events.

He scoured online galleries for running events in Sydney and eventually found a photo of 'Hamish Maxwell' running the 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon. He had registered for the event as Hamish McLaren.

Hamish McLaren running the 2014 SMH Half Marathon
Hamish McLaren running the 2014 SMH Half Marathon. Image: Twitter.
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'Hamish Maxwell' in London and Hamish McLaren in Sydney were the same person.

Priest's friend used the truth to get his money back: "[Hamish] was basically told 'the game is up, give us our cash back'," Priest told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Following a lengthy investigation and with decades of fraud and deception under his belt, police finally paid McLaren a visit in July 2017.

They seized papers, including fake documents, from McLaren's Bondi apartment..

He pleaded guilty to 17 counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and one count of knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime.

McLaren was supposed to be sentenced today - Thursday, 14 February - but it was delayed after his barrister requested a psychological test, The Australian reported this week.

It will take at least six weeks for the psychologist to prepare their report.

While we wait, The Australian will continue to release its podcast detailing McLaren's crimes.

Who The Hell is Hamish? has been called the 'new Teacher's Pet', in reference to The Australian's award-winning true crime podcast by Hedley Thomas.

A new episode will be released every Friday, so get it in your ears.

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