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Hamish McLaren Bio, Now, Victims, Wife, Parents

Australian swindler Hamish Mclaren fleeced dozens of victims of $7.66 million by directing them into fake investment schemes that promised a high return. The list of his 15 victims included close friends, girlfriends, and designer Lisa Ho.

Hamish persuaded victims to withdraw money from their mortgages, sell their shares, cash in their superannuation, and apply for home loans in order to give him money for dubious investment plans that guaranteed a high return. One victim, with whom he had a relationship, was defrauded of $317,000 after being given fictitious documents.

Hamish McLaren Victims

Three of Hamish McLaren’s victims spoke out the loudest during his trial.

According to 7 News Australia, Bec Rosen married Hamish in October 2010. A divorced mother of three boys, she moved to “Blueys Beach, just over three hours north of Sydney” and met Hamish in 2008. Although their courtship was brief, Bec Rosen fell for the charming man who made the time to write her love notes and go surfing with her sons.

When Bec Rosen saw him having coffee with her son’s 16-year-old girlfriend, who he also chauffeured around in his posh, pricey car, she first realized something wasn’t right. The final straw was when Rosen one day discovered a purple G-string in her dryer. The car and many other of Hamish’s indulgences were being paid for by Rosen, who “didn’t know it at the time.” Eventually, Hamish, who was in his late forties, acknowledged to having an affair with her son’s girlfriend.

7 News Australia also reported that his second victim, Karen Lowe, was a “rich, strapped single mother.” She owned a beautiful property worth more than a million dollars, but she lacked the funds to make repairs. She was willing to borrow $1 million from the bank so that Hamish could use some of it to work on the house and the rest to invest after meeting him and learning he might help.

The couple was subsequently invited to the Royal Ascot by Lowe’s affluent friend Henry Hannon when he was in Sydney, where McLaren claimed to purchase a $100,000 horse. As a Goldman Sachs investor, Hamish soon asked Lowe and Hannon to travel with him to New York for a business meeting. Hannon, however, sensed something wasn’t quite right and ordered two Goldman Sachs workers to look into Hamish. They established that he didn’t work there, and Lowe discovered that she owed the bank more than $1 million.

Hamish took advantage of marketing executive and single mother Tracy Hall after fabricating yet another false identity for himself. They connected on a dating app under the alias Max Tavita. He fabricated a complex network of lies, including that Tracy’s parents were deceased, that he was there at the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, and that of course he was a market trader. That is how Tracy came to “invest” her life savings and lose close to $320,000 of them.

As for designer Lisa Ho, she gave Hamish $850,000 after being introduced by her ex-husband. She however recouped $500K of it.

His arrest in July 2017 was the culmination of a deceit that began in May 2011.

Most of the time, he shifted money between accounts rather than investing their money, so that it could be “spent as he decided,” which included paying for a luxurious lifestyle that included regular visits to the US and the UK, an Aston Martin, and other items. In order to get more money from them, he frequently utilized his victim’s money to make tiny payments to additional victims.

Where Is Hamish McLaren Now? Is He Still In Jail?

Yes, Hamish McLaren is still in jail. In 2019, acting judge Colin Charteris sentenced him to 16 years in jail with a non-parole period of 12 years.

“It does not persuade me remotely that this man is sorry,” Judge Charteris said. “I do not believe he has any remorse, I believe he is consumed by himself … the one focus was his wellbeing, so he could live, apparently, the high life, while spending the retirement savings of others.”

The court found McLaren had been “motivated by greed and not need” in swindling millions from his victims, primarily through a Ponzi or pyramid scheme.

Hamish had no official training in finance, and on one occasion he even purported to be a licensed attorney. He claimed to have graduated from Harvard Business School and went by the aliases Max Tavita, Hamish Watson, and Hamish Maxwell.

He was initially eligible for parole in July 2029.

However, in 2021, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal reduced his sentence to a maximum of 12 years with a non-parole period of nine years. He will first become eligible for parole in July 2026.

Justice Peter Hamill said the language used by the sentencing judge was emotive and pejorative, which gave “the appearance of a lack of temperance and impartiality”. Justice Hamill said Hamish was entitled to have a range of factors taken into account in his sentencing including his “complete lack of criminal offending before the age of 40, his long estrangement from his father, the ill-health of a close relative, his good behavior in custody [and] his work in surf life saving, to detail just a few of the personal circumstances adduced in evidence”.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the court considered a range of sentences in comparable cases and concluded the “crushing” sentence was “substantially out of proportion” with similar cases. While “the grave circumstances of the offending was bound to result in a substantial period of imprisonment”, the sentence was “plainly wrong”, “too long,” and “the outcome was unjust” when Hamish’s early guilty plea was taken into account.

Hamish McLaren Wife

As stated earlier, Hamish McLaren was married to Bec Rosen. The first time Bec met Hamish she thought he was a bit of a tosser. They met shortly after moving from Singapore to Blueys Beach on the NSW coast.

Bec was a single mom who had just ended a bad marriage and, along with her three young sons. She was escaping a bad marriage, and after initially disliking the “fading surfy dude” who used to be her worst customer, she found herself falling for his supposed kindness. He’d surf with her kids, buy her groceries, and take her boy to the dentist when he had a fall.

Bec’s family was in the early stages of rebuilding their lives when Hamish appeared and made himself indispensable.  So indispensable in fact, that Bec and Hamish got married in October 2010.

And that was when Bec started to uncover the extraordinary lies her husband had told and the twisted secrets he was keeping from her and her boys.

Bec had a gut feeling that her husband was having an affair with her 17-year-old son Jack’s girlfriend. “She’d come up for breakfast and she wouldn’t have much on… just like a girl would be hanging around with her family. He’d start doing things like flicking her bum with the tea towel,” Bec told No Filter.

She thought she was going insane due to his manipulation, gaslighting, and constant denial. “I was so suspicious. It was probably one of the lowest times of my life, and no one would listen. They all just thought I was jealous.”

“It’s so bizarre how your body reacts, just straight away after seeing that it made me feel weird. I approached him and told him it wasn’t cool… and he’d say ‘get over yourself Bec for f***sake, she’s a kid’.”

Initially, Bec voiced her concerns to Hamish. Then, she started asking her son. They both assured her everything was fine, and that she was making a fuss over nothing. Jack, her son, would tell her to “butt out of his relationship and stop going on about her and Hamish,” telling his mum that his young girlfriend was “getting upset”.

The other children of Bec are Jet and Levi.

She recently appeared on a podcast to discuss details.

Who Are Hamish McLaren Parents?

Australian conman Hamish McLaren’s parents are named Philip and Anne Watson. According to The Sun, he was privately educated and grew up in  Avalon Beach, New South Wales, in the ’80s and was described as popular known as ‘Hambone’ to his mates.

At the age of 16, Hamish dropped out of school to work as a landscaper and later as a ski instructor in the highlands of New South Wales. In 1988, while on a ski trip in Canada, he met an Asian businessman who assisted him in setting up a shop as a floor trader. By the time he went it alone in the mid-1990s, he was able to talk the talk when it came to finances and to lie with conviction. He then returned to Australia to work at Sydney Futures Exchange.

Hamish was dating British Playboy model, Gabrielle Richens, then 24 and known affectionately as “The Pleasure Machine” following an acting role in which she played a stripper, and they were living in the most luxurious home on Sydney’s Palm Beach in December 1999.

Related FAQs

  • Where Is Hamish McLaren From?

Hamish McLaren hailed from Avalon Beach, New South Wales, Australia.

  • How Old Is Hamish McLaren?

Hamish McLaren was born on 29 March 1970 which makes him 53 as of 2023.

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