Pal sold home for £22,000... and kept cash

A COUPLE pocketed thousands of pounds after being entrusted to look after the sale of a friend's house.

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Alison Day lost out after moving and asking her friend to sell her home
Alison Day lost out after moving and asking her friend to sell her home

Alison Day, a mother-of-four who also has five grandchildren, asked Anne MacGregor, her friend from childhood, to act as power of attorney for the sale of her family home when she moved overseas.

When the sale went through, the cheques were sent to Mrs MacGregor, whose son is Fulton McGregor, SNP councillor for Coatbridge, Airdrie and Glenboig.

But when Mrs Day, 62, asked for the money from the sale of the one-bedroom Victorian property, her friend refused to hand it over.

After repeated attempts to get what was due to her, Mrs Day was forced to raise a civil action against her friend and won the case at Airdrie Sheriff Court.

A decree was issued forcing Mrs MacGregor to pay the money back in full, £22,000, within 14 days.

But having spent the cash, Anne and her husband James declared themselves bankrupt and Mrs Day has never received a penny from the sale, almost 16 years ago.

Mrs Day said: "I have known Anne since childhood. I was like an auntie to their son Fulton. I put my trust in her.

"I have lived for years with this in my heart. I don't even care about the money any more. I just want the public to know what this family did."

Mrs Day decided to put her family home in Coatbridge on the market, because she was moving to Libya permanently to be with her oil consultant husband Masoud, now 60, and their four children.

Her sister owned the top floor of the Victorian property at 279 East Muiryhall Street, Coatbridge, which was built by her grandfather, but had already sold her share of the property.

Mrs Day decided to sell her share, the ground floor flat of the house, and appointed Mrs MacGregor as power of attorney.

She said: "I went to a solicitor with Anne and her husband and they drew up a contract.

"My husband and I had thought we would give Anne a gift as a thanks, maybe about £500 when the sale was complete.

"I found out by fax the property had sold. They sold it cheap because it needed quite a bit of renovating.

"I left it for about a year and then flew back to Glasgow and went to see Anne. When I asked her about the money she said: "I'll have to ask Jimmy about it."

"I asked her why the money was not in the bank and she mumbled something about having to check her ISAs."

Papers show the property sold for £22,000 on October 30, 1998. In today's property market the flat would be worth about £80, 000.

Mrs Day stayed in Coatbridge for about a month, making repeated requests for her money, and then returned to Libya. She waited another year and a half and then consulted a lawyer.

A letter from Mrs Day's solicitors at the time, McWinney Richards, states the sale money was paid in two separate cheques to Mrs MacGregor and that, "There has been no accounting by Mrs MacGregor to Mrs Day for the sums received".

On April 8, 2004, five years after the sale, a decree was issued against Mrs MacGregor ordering her to pay £20,785 within two weeks.

However, the couple, who live close to the property, declared themselves bankrupt, so Mrs Day was unable to get her money back.

When the Evening Times approached Anne MacGregor, at her Coatbridge home, she refused to answer questions about the sale of the house.

Her husband said Mrs Day had "accepted the sequestration" and told us: "It's got nothing to do with you."

Mrs Day said she confronted her friend again recently about the situation and added: "She just shrugged her shoulders."

Mrs Day now lives in Dennistoun, Glasgow, and is hoping her husband of 37 years will be able to move to Scotland eventually. Two of her children remain overseas while the other two are living in Glasgow and working as doctors.

She recently tried to raise criminal proceedings against Mrs MacGregor in a fresh case but has been unsuccessful, so is unlikely to ever see any of the money that is rightfully hers.

Bill Renfrew, the solicitor acting on Mrs Day's behalf, said: "The Fiscal, in my opinion, has acted very unfairly. All the evidence is there. There is potential to pursue a criminal case but the Fiscal has decided perhaps, because it is so long ago, not to pursue the case.

"They have no legal obligation to do so. In a criminal case the court can order someone to pay compensation.

"I feel very sorry for Alison. You would only grant a power of attorney to someone you trust.

"In Alison's case she did so because she was moving to Libya. The money was paid to her friend and her friend kept the money.

"She won her case for a decree but the friend applied for sequestration.

"Alison had no choice but to accept it."

caroline.wilson@eveningtimes.co.uk

Finance

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