Secret Diet Drop scam sisters to pay for lies
Fake health tonic pair must hand over £820,000
TWO conniving north-east sisters who profited to the tune of £2 million thanks to a bogus slimming scheme have been ordered to pay more than £820,000.
Helen Buchan and Carol Wiseman ran an online firm called Secret Diet Drops and claimed their remedies could help weight loss and treat cancer.
Thousands bought into the scam before their false advertising caught up with them in 2016, when they were fined £9,000 and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.
The Crown Office has pursued them under Proceeds of Crime legislation and yesterday the siblings were ordered to hand over hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Buchan and Wiseman appeared in the dock at Peterhead Sheriff Court and were hit with two separate confiscation orders totalling £826,821.
They have been given six months to come up with the sums and three months to explain to authorities how they will foot the bill.
Two north-east sisters who duped thousands of slimmers with fake diet treatments have been ordered to pay back more than £800,000.
Helen Buchan, 52, and Carol Wiseman, 51, from Fraserburgh, made millions of pounds through their Secret Diet Drops business.
The pair offered remedies that claimed to help burn fat and even treat cancer but the victims they preyed upon later discovered they were worthless.
The siblings were fined £9,000 two years ago but since then the Crown has been pursuing them under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
After months of evidence and legal argument, Buchan, of Greenbank Grove, and Wiseman, of Burns Place, appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court yesterday, where they were hit with confiscation orders of £528,505.87 and £298,316.24, respectively.
The sisters have been given six months to pay the amounts but must return to court in February to detail to authorities how they will cough up the cash.
Buchan and Wiseman made more than £2 million from their diet aids scam, which was convincing enough to snare countless victims.
The sisters admitted selling common apple vinegar cider and telling people it would break down fat, kill cancer cells and help with arthritis.
They confessed to a series of charges under consumer protection laws that included misleading commercial practice by a company and a trader engaging in misleading action.
Buchan and Wiseman were fined in 2016 and
“False claims to entice vulnerable consumers”
both were given 180 hours of unpaid work as a direct alternative to jail.
Secret Diet Drops was dissolved by Companies House three months after the pair’s punishment was handed down.
The Crown’s bid to recoup the money made by illicit means has been hit with a string of delays.
The case was held up in May this year when Buchan and Wiseman asked for more time to settle their accounts.
At a hearing in February, it emerged Buchan had a “substantial” amount of her assets frozen and that Wiseman had been declared bankrupt.
They have both relied on taxpayer-funded legal aid as the proceeds of crime case has rumbled on.
Fiscal depute Gavin Whyte said yesterday: “In relation to both, they must inform the Crown and the court in three months how they will satisfy the order.”
Advocate Ross Taggart, who was representing Buchan and Andrew Ormiston, advocate for Wiseman, said they agreed with the sums set out in court. Mr Ormiston said there was “no opposition” to the confiscation order after Sheriff Christine McCrossan granted it.
Procurator fiscal for specialist casework Jennifer Harrower said in the wake of the case: “Carol Wiseman and Helen Buchan made false claims to entice vulnerable consumers into purchasing their products.
“In cases such as this, prosecution of a criminal offence does not mean the end of our involvement.
“We will use the laws available to us to ensure money obtained through crime is confiscated from those who do not deserve it, and reinvested into the community.”
GUILTY: Helen Buchan and Carol Wiseman claimed their fake remedy could help weight loss and treat cancer
PAYBACK: Helen Buchan, left, and Carol Wiseman were hit with confiscation orders