THE undertaker who turned in “master conman” Barry Stevenson-Hamilton “could have lost everything” after discovering his sick money making plot.

Sarah Yorke, from Kincardine, was the first to report the disgraced funeral director, who recently admitted fraud in court in Kirkcaldy.

She told the Times: “He almost cost me my career. I had a mortgage to pay, bills to pay, a 10-year-old daughter to look after.

“It was one of the worst times in my life.

“Everything that came out of his mouth was a lie.”

The director of Stevenson Funeral Directors Ltd, which had premises in Rosyth, and Funeral (Care) Scotland Ltd was charged with having formed a fraudulent scheme to obtain money by fraud.

In court he admitted to having fraudulently acquired £130,207 between January 20, 2016 and September 12, 2019.

The indictment said that while acting as the director of the company, both by his own hand and by deceiving employees, Mr Stevenson-Hamilton falsely told customers that they were purchasing a pre-paid funeral plan, either for themselves or for another person, and that that plan would guarantee the payment of funeral services and associated costs.

The plans were to be held with the Avalon trustee company and that the money paid would be held securely by the said company.

However, the funeral provisions were not guaranteed and money paid was not deposited with Avalon, and as a result customers had not purchased funeral plans.

Sarah uncovered documents, alongside co-worker Lynn Turner, which showed that Stevenson-Hamilton duped customers into believing they had paid for funeral plans, while he retained the money for himself.

Lynn had brought concerns to Sarah over papers which seemed to show that certain customers had never been registered with the Avalon Trustee Company Ltd, who they believed they held plans with, despite payment having been made.

The folders, which she says were held in Rosyth and Kirkcaldy, still retained copies which should have been sent straight to the company, with receipts signed by Stevenson-Hamilton.

“The more you dug, the more you found out,” the 40-year-old explained.

“Barry is quite bright but also quite stupid. I would photocopy the sheets and give them to Lynn to collate the information, we quite quickly saw things were going downhill.

“She continued to work with him after – for an additional 12 weeks until he was shut down – I lost that friendship.”

Sarah walked out soon after confronting her boss, who was found to have scammed more than 60 people.

“I said ‘You can’t do this’, he just got silent,” she said.

“He looked at the plans and said ‘She’s dead, he’s dead’, then took away the folder and put it in the shredder.”

She added that a spiral of lies had then unfolded, with his then-partner discovering that the university he claimed to be graduating from had “never heard of him”.

“It was lie upon lie upon lie,” she said.

“He was a master conman, you would think he would bend over backwards for you but he used people.

“He would come over as the most genuinely nice guy, he was like Ted Bundy.”

Sarah has only recently been promoted back into the position she had been in almost three years ago working under Stevenson-Hamilton.

She says she “maxed out” a credit card trying to make ends meet after leaving the industry, which she struggled to rejoin after others found out what had happened.

“Other funeral directors wouldn’t touch me,” she said.

“I thought, that’s it, I’ve blown my 10-year career, I have lost friends because my integrity wouldn’t allow me to continue.

“My friend who was a celebrant dropped me like a hot tattie because I had cost them business.

“Everybody knows everybody, but it did shock me, I lost two mates, a job, a career, and had no money coming in.

“I really needed friends at that time but they weren’t interested, they were still making money.

“He owed me a wage but I thought, even if he does pay me, I don’t know where the money might have come from.

“He knew it would hit me hard. And it did.”

The business had been facing difficulties in the run-up to the investigation, which has been running for almost three years.

Stevenson-Hamilton was first investigated following the complaint in September 2019, which saw his businesses in Rosyth, Cowdenbeath, Cardenden and Kirkcaldy searched under warrant in October 2019.

Officers seized documentation dating back to 2015 which showed that paperwork had not been processed correctly.

The majority of those who believed they had paid for plans have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket with no active policy in place.