Duo who sold fake diet pills and cancer treatment told to give back £820,000

Two women who sold fake diet pills and cancer treatments to vulnerable customers have been ordered to hand over a total of more than £820,000.

The pair sold fake diet pills. Picture: John Devlin/File

Prosecutors said Helen Buchan, 52, and 50-year-old Carol Wiseman - directors of Secret Diet Drops Ltd - used their business website and literature to make “misleading and unsubstantiated” claims about their products.

The duo, both of Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire, claimed their drops would help with weight loss and that their apple cider vinegar would kill cancer cells.

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They pled guilty in 2016 to breaches of regulations designed to protect consumers from unfair trading and the firm was fined £9,000 at Peterhead Sheriff Court.

The women were also sentenced to carry out 180 hours each of community service.

The court heard previously that Aberdeenshire Council’s trading standards department had received various complaints against the company in 2012 and 2013.

Following sentencing, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service continued its efforts to claw back some of the women’s ill-gotten gains.

Confiscation orders totalling around £826,822 were ultimately made at Peterhead Sheriff Court on Wednesday, prosecutors confirmed after the hearing.

Buchan was ordered to hand over £528,505 while Wiseman was told to repay £298,316 under proceeds of crime laws.

Both women were given six months in which to pay the order, which is said to reflect the amount of money currently available.

The court deemed that the overall benefit from criminal activity was more than £1.6 million and prosecutors have vowed to recoup more cash if other assets become available.

Procurator fiscal for specialist casework Jennifer Harrower said: “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.”