Peter Foster, one of Australia's most notorious scammers, has been declared bankrupt

Getty ImagesPeter Foster

Serial conman Peter Foster, currently on remand in a NSW prison, awaiting trial over unrelated fraud charges involving a betting scam, has been declared bankrupt because he failed to pay court costs over a scam weight loss program known as SensaSlim.

The Federal Court declared Foster bankrupt last week on an application from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which took the repeat scammer to court over SensaSlim back in 2013.

The consumer watchdog has locked horns with Foster numerous times over 30 years, and as well as being jailed and banned as a company director previously, the serial fraudster has been convicted of a range of offences in several countries, as far back as the 1980s, including forgery, fraud, money laundering, contempt of court, and assaulting police.

Foster’s entanglements include 1980s British model Samantha Fox, with whom he had a relationship and used to promote a weight loss tea, boxing great Muhammad Ali, and the wife of former British PM Cherie Blair. He also conned Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, over Bai Lin tea, a supposed “ancient Chinese diet secret” which was found to be ordinary black tea, and led to his conviction for fraud in the UK.

The SensaSlim case was a typical Foster scam that itself turned into a major melodrama for the conman, with Foster found in contempt of court for his involvement while banned from the sector. The ACCC began proceedings against SensaSlim, Peter Foster and others in July 2011.

SensaSlim Australia, now in liquidation, offered an oral spray that supposedly led to weight loss. The business sold franchises for $59,950 each, raking in $6.4 million.

The Court found SensaSlim engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading misrepresentations by failing to disclose Foster’s involvement.

He was sentenced to jail for contempt, but failed to appear and then pretended to be in Fiji while he lodged further appeals against his convictions. It led to a major manhunt and Interpol Alert for his extradition before Foster was arrested in Byron Bay in northern New South Wales in October 2014. He served time in Queensland but was released early.

While Sensalim was fined $3.55 million for its actions, Foster was ordered to pay a $660,000 penalty, as the ACCC’s costs over his involvement in May 2016. He was also permanently disqualified from managing a corporation. Foster unsuccessfully appealed this penalty and was ordered to pay the commission’s $56,714 legal bill. He paid neither the fine nor the costs, so the ACCC took him to court again – and bankrupted him.

Foster’s bankruptcy took effect from December 14, 2017. The Official Trustee will determine whether any proceeds will be distributed among Foster’s creditors.

Foster’s current brush with the law, which saw him detained as a “completely unacceptable” flight risk because he’s skipped bail before, involves a $1.5 million sports betting scam in 2013.

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