SCOTLAND’S richest criminals have yet to pay more than £6.5 million seized from them under “dirty money” laws.
They include Edinburgh brothel boss Margaret Paterson, 64, who was dubbed “Madam Moneybags” after making a fortune from prostitution.
Figures obtained for the Edinburgh Evening News reveal she still owes £780,440 of a £1m confiscation order handed out to her in May, 2015.
In 2013, she was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted for brothel-keeping, money laundering and living on the earnings of prostitution.
Attempts are also still being made to try and get hold of assets from drug dealer Alexander Cameron, 67, from Kirknewton in West Lothian.
He was ordered to pay £525,000 in April, 2014, but he was murdered in January, 2015, before he made any payments. An administrator has been appointed in an attempt to recover the money from his estate.
Prosecutors have boasted that they are taking millions every year under the Proceeds of Crime Act and diverting the money into community projects.
However, many of the crooks, including fraudsters, drug dealers and money launderers, still owe cash years after confiscation orders were imposed on them by courts.
Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) figures released under freedom of information laws show that there is £6,578,568 outstanding in confiscation orders compared to £5,943,839 last year. Almost £4m is owed by just ten people.
As of last month, benefits fraudster Anthony Kearney, of Glasgow, had the largest amount outstanding at £898,441.
Kearney, 52, and his girlfriend Donna McCafferty were tracked down in Spain in 2008. A £930,362 confiscation order was imposed in October, 2011, but he has stumped up just over £30,000 and is currently appealing the order.
Scottish Conservatives justice spokesman Liam Kerr MSP said: “The thinking behind the Proceeds of Crime Act is sound – forcing criminals to pay up for the misery they’ve caused communities.
“However, it’s clear they’ve been allowed to treat it with contempt.
“This legislation will remain utterly toothless while serious criminals – many of whom have made themselves extremely wealthy through crime – aren’t forced to cough up.
“The SNP’s failure to make this legislation work lets criminals off the hook and deprives communities of the compensation they deserve.”
Scottish Labour MSP Claire Baker MSP said: “We need to be clear that crime does not pay.”
An SCTS spokesman said: “By its nature a confiscation order is a financial penalty which may take some time to recover in full. The period within which financial penalties should be paid is a matter for the judiciary.”