The Crown’s fight to recoup some of the money made by two north-east women who duped thousands of hopeful dieters with a “miracle cure” has been continued until the new year.
Sisters Helen Buchan, 51, and Carol Wiseman, 49, made more than £2million selling fake treatments through their Secret Diet Drops business.
The pair, from Fraserburgh, were fined £9,000 last March.
The Crown Office also made a motion to collect some of their illicit gains through the proceeds of crime act – but it has been repeatedly delayed by the duo requesting more time to sort their finances.
Yesterday, the case called again at Peterhead Sheriff Court and was once again delayed – for the seventh time.
Sheriff Kevin Drummond issued a stark warning afterwards that he would be proceeding whether they are “ready or not” in February.
Yesterday’s deferral came after it “just came to light” that Buchan, of Greenbank Grove, had run out cash to pay for a solicitor on her own,and was now seeking legal aid.
Wiseman, of Burns Place, meanwhile, has not been heard from for “a number of weeks” and did not provide her legal team with instructions about how to proceed.
Local agent Leonard Burkinshaw acted on behalf of the women – who were not present -at yesterday’s calling.
He said he was hopeful that Wiseman would contact her own solicitors in due course.
“They are minded to remain the agency, but they will be resigning if she doesn’t,” Mr Burkinshaw added.
“Hopefully she will make contact with them.”
Sheriff Drummond said: “Mr Burkinshaw, you’re going to have to tell them.
“This is going to proof whether they are ready or not before the time bar expires.”
Fiscal Depute Karen Dow told the court she was under instructions to proceed to a proof hearing before the time bar expires on the case on February 25.
The sisters previously admitted to selling common apple vinegar cider and telling buyers it would help break down fat, kill cancer cells and help with arthritis.
In addition to their fine, Wiseman and Buchan were both given 180 hours of unpaid work as a direct alternative to jail.