Conman bet £4k on ‘flip of a coin’

Alexander Currie has been jailed for 18 months. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Alexander Currie has been jailed for 18 months. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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A “WALTER Mitty” conman who sold his partner’s house behind her back is a “degenerate” gambler who once bet £4300 on a football match.

Alexander Currie was jailed for 18 months after defrauding his partner of ten years, Janette McVicar, out of £80,000 by secretly selling her Moredun bungalow while she still lived there.

Now a sheriff has ordered that £5753 belonging to Currie be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act following his imprisonment earlier this month.

Sheriff Frank Crowe said that the cash should be made available for compensation claims by Ms McVicar and other victims of the 46-year-old’s swindles.

Solicitor Martin Collins, representing the procurator fiscal’s office which sought to seize the money, said that the known victims fleeced by Currie may be the “tip of the iceberg”.

Mr Collins added that Currie had “an inveterate degenerate gambling addiction”.

Referring to a betting slip he had been given as evidence, Mr Collins said that Currie had placed £4300 on a football match in a single bet at a William Hill bookmaker and had lost on what was “basically the flip of a coin”.

Ms McVicar, 53, only found out that Currie had sold her home after phoning the mortgage company to find out how much she owed them.

Currie paid a lookalike £500 to pose as Ms McVicar to a firm of Edinburgh solicitors and sell the house to one of his friends to pay off £30,000 of debts.

Currie, of Drumdryan Street in Tollcross, pleaded guilty to a charge of forming a fraudulent scheme to obtain money between January and April last year.

Ms McVicar estimated that Currie had taken £150,000 from her over the years, including the illegal sale of her £110,000 house, as well as from loans and credit cards.

During the confiscation hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, Mr Collins said Currie would not be present in court as he was “not interested” in the fate of the cash while he languished in jail.

Mr Collins agreed with Sheriff Crowe’s recommendation that the sum be available to victims, adding that the confiscation would be “a device for potential victims to stake a claim to the cash”.

Speaking to the Evening News in January, Ms McVicar said: “Alex is a conman. He’s good at manipulation and can be very believable. He’s a compulsive liar and a total Walter Mitty character.”

Gas engineer Mark Donahue also revealed how he was cheated out of £30,000 by Currie after he was persuaded to re-mortgage his house to invest in a property letting scheme.

When the scheme collapsed, Currie hired the lookalike to pretend to be Ms McVicar and sell her home.

amcewen@edinburghnews.com