Captured Australian weight-loss conman convicted

AP News
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Posted: Oct 29, 2014 1:34 AM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian man who promoted fake slimming products was convicted Wednesday of assaulting police and resisting arrest during his recent capture after a year on the run.

Peter Foster, 52, has been on the loose since failing to show up for a sentencing hearing late last year after he was convicted for flouting a 2005 ban on him participating in the weight-loss industry. He was sentenced in his absence.

Police found Foster hiding in scrub Tuesday near the resort town of Byron Bay, 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of Sydney. A scuffle followed.

His long gray hair and beard was disheveled when Foster appeared in a hospital gown to plead guilty Wednesday in the Tweed Heads Magistrates Court. He spent Tuesday night in hospital for observation before he was returned to police custody on Wednesday.

The magistrate did not impose a sentence for the convictions, saying that Foster would be taken to prison to serve his previous three-year sentence. His latest venture had been a bogus weight-loss spray.

Foster also created political controversy in Britain when he helped Cherie Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, buy two reduced-price flats in Bristol in 2002. The scandal dubbed "Cheriegate" led to the prime minister's wife making a public apology.