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Hamish McLaren: Single mum Tracy Hall conned out of $317,000 warns it could happen to anyone

A single mother who was robbed of her life savings by serial conman Hamish McLaren has warned it could happen to anyone.

Tracy Hall, from Sydney, dated a man she thought was Max Tavita in 2016.

‘Max’, who was in reality serial fraudster and love rat Hamish McLaren, convinced her to set up a self-managed super fund that she thought was in her name during their 16-month relationship.

But in reality, McLaren unknowingly let her transfer $317,000 in savings and pension into his own pocket.

Ms Hall said she was a skeptical person who believed she could spot a scammer.

Tracy Hall, from Sydney, dated a man she thought was Max Tavita in 2016. His real identity was Hamish McLaren and he was a serial fraudster and love rat (the two are pictured together)

“I watched those stories on the news and watched them and I thought ‘I would never fall for that’ but here I am, I’ve lost my life savings to a man who pretended to love me and at the same time destroyed my life. me,” Ms. Hall told Sunrise.

McLaren has taken $70 million from dozens of victims worldwide, including Australian fashion designer Lisa Ho, by posing as an investment fund manager.

He was given a 16-year prison sentence for his crimes in 2019, later reduced to 12 years.

Ms Hall, who is writing a book about her experiences called The Last Victim, said she wanted to share her experiences to “educate people about the pitfalls of falling for scams and really just help empower people around their financial security and financial vulnerability’ .

“I don’t think you should go into every situation just looking for warning signs because that’s a pretty crappy place to live, but I think we all need to be more vigilant,” Ms Hall said.

“There’s not a day that goes by… where you’re not exposed to some form of scam and it’s probably not the magnitude of what I’ve experienced, but every day a text, an email.”

Ms Hall featured on The Australian’s award-winning podcast Who The Hell Is Hamish?, which explored how McLaren has been defrauding people since the 1990s.

She previously told the Sydney-based financial advisor Canna Campbell how the scam worked, claiming it was a “slow process of planting seeds.”

“He won my trust through the image he portrayed,” Ms. Hall said.

“The Max Tavita I knew was a Chief Investment Officer of a family office hedge fund, so there was a story that he had built over time.”

A single mother who was robbed of her 'life savings' by serial conman Hamish McLaren has revealed how it happened (Picture: Tracy Hall)

A single mother who was robbed of her ‘life savings’ by serial conman Hamish McLaren has revealed how it happened (Picture: Tracy Hall)

McLaren (pictured) was given a 16-year prison sentence for his crimes in 2019, later reduced to 12 years

McLaren (pictured) was given a 16-year prison sentence for his crimes in 2019, later reduced to 12 years

She said the pair had “countless conversations about financial strategies, pensions and hedge funds.”

Mrs Hall said he was ‘very vocal’ about ‘the banks and their pensions’, but because they had a committed relationship she thought this was all within his expertise and that he was ‘looking out for me’.

“It took quite a while for us to discuss anything to do with my retirement or my savings or anything, but it happened slowly and eventually I trusted him,” Tracy said.

By the time he went to prison, Tracy had given McLaren “$317,000 of her life savings.”

‘I had been working for 21 years. It was a combination of my pension – which was the biggest part – and some savings I had built up. It was my life savings,” Ms Hall said.

When she realized what she had lost, Tracy said she had reached her “lowest point.”

Her book, The Last Victim, will be published in May.

King Con: The Life and Crimes of Hamish McLaren airs on Sunday at 8pm on Channel Seven and also on 7plus.