AN EDINBURGH woman who made hundreds of thousands of pounds running a brothel and an escort agency has been convicted of living off immoral earnings.
Margaret Paterson, 61, Robert Munro, 61, and Ian Goalen, 59, were yesterday found guilty of proceeds of crime and immoral earnings charges at the High Court in Edinburgh.
The trio operated a brothel and a nationwide escort business from a house in the capital’s west end.
During a nine-year period, Paterson and Munro provided prostitutes for clients across Scotland and beyond.
Goalen, a former bank manager, acted as a driver for the women while they plied their trade in Edinburgh, West Lothian, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Newcastle upon Tyne.
The operation came to an end when police raided their premises in Edinburgh’s Grosvenor Street in September 2011. Officers found sex toys, designer shoes and evidence showing
Paterson had gone on a £461,604 spending spree in some of the city’s most exclusive shops.
Credit card records detailed how she bought luxury items from Harvey Nichols, Louis Vuitton and Mulberry.
Officers also found £204,660 in cash as well as mobile phones, which clients rang to book
sessions with the prostitutes.
Paterson, of Grosvenor Street, Munro, of Grosvenor Street, and Goalen, of North Berwick, East Lothian, had originally pleaded not guilty to a total of seven charges.
The court heard that Paterson set up AaBella Escorts in October 2002 and it quickly became a lucrative money-spinning venture for her and Munro. The firm advertised its services in a number of newspapers.
They also set up a brothel, which operated from a property in Grosvenor Street.
The trial heard from Kellie Ann Bolton, 31, who said she worked for Paterson and Munro as a prostitute just before the business was raided in 2011.
She said she charged punters £150 for an hour-long session.
The jury was also shown forms that the girls had to fill out detailing what they were willing and not willing to do.
The court also heard from Roderick MacLeod, 45, who worked as a night manager for the George Hotel in Edinburgh between 2004 and 2009.
He told Mr Kearney that “somebody” provided him with a phone number for AaBella Escorts when he started working at the hotel.
Mr MacLeod said that whenever a guest wanted an escort, AaBella would send girls to the hotel.
The court heard that, in September 2011, police received a tip-off that Paterson was running a brothel.
Officers raided the premises and Paterson’s home address a few weeks later.
On the last day of the Crown case, Goalen pled guilty to
living off the earnings of prostitution.
He then gave evidence against his former bosses.
Neither Paterson nor Munro gave evidence.
Sentencing on all three has been deferred for reports about their characters.