A FORMER councillor has appeared in court charged with serious offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Gordon Beurskens is accused of “acquiring and using criminal property” by embezzling more than £85,000 from an elderly couple.
The indictment was continued without plea when it called for the first time before Sheriff Vinit Khurana at Livingston Sheriff Court today.
Beurskens, 49, was granted time to discuss his position with his lawyer, solicitor advocate Ian Bryce.
He is alleged to made a series of transfers, transactions and withdrawals between the couple’s bank accounts, his own and his partner’s without the lawful authority of the account holders.
The charge alleges that Beurskens committed the offences on numerous occasions between August 2006 and August 2009 at addresses in West Lothian, Manchester and London.
The locations include The Breich Inn, where he used to be landlord, West Lothian Council headquarters in Livingston Civic Centre, where he was based as a councillor, and top people’s department store Harrods of Knightsbridge.
He’s accused of obtaining a third party mandate to operate five accounts and bank cards held by pensioners James and Janet McQue.
Court papers state that Mr McQue is now deceased and 83-year-old Mrs McQue’s address is given as C/O Lothian and Borders Police in Dalkeith, Midlothian.
Beurskens is alleged to have transferred cash from the couple’s accounts to his bank account for his own purposes.
He’s also alleged to have transferred money to an account held by his partner Sadie McMillan, with whom he shares a home in Longridge, West Lothian,
He’s further charged with using their bank cards to conduct a number of online transactions amounting to £743.32 and to make cash withdrawals totaling £6850.
In total, he is alleged to have embezzled £85,173.35 or thereby by withdrawing money from the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Beurskens was West Lothian Council’s Action to Save St. John’s Hospital member for Whitburn and Blackburn, until May this year.
He and another independent councilor voted with the Scottish National Party to give them control of the council prior to the election.
He chaired the authority’s Audit Committee and Performance Committees was the authority’s member on the National Association of Councillors.
Trial has been fixed for next month.