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Conman Peter Foster Arrested for Involvement in International Betting Scam

Oct 31, 2014 - by Monica Erdei
Peter Foster arrested (Photo: The Australian)

Peter Foster arrested (Photo: The Australian)

Police revealed that Peter Foster scammed investors out of more than $10 million, in an international ponzi scheme.

The man allegedly ran a betting scheme called the Sports Trading Club, conning hundreds of Australian families. According to online gambling news, Foster told investors that he could make them a fortune through the sports betting site, an operation he ran from a hideout located in the Byron Bay area.

Using the alias Mark Hughes, the conman tricked his victims into giving him millions of dollars. Newspapers said he had raked in more than $10 million in the last few months alone, and he spent part of his illegal income on a yacht.

Police found several computers in Foster’s home office, as well as multiple mobile phones registered to different names. The equipment was all part of the plot.

The Age: Peter Foster implicated in international betting scam

Hundreds of investors could lose millions in an international betting scheme run by Peter Foster, following the notorious conman’s dramatic arrest at a luxury property near Byron Bay. The man was hiding from Australian authorities and it is believed he operated the Sports Trading Club from his hiding place.

Police raided his house on Tuesday afternoon and found six mobile phones, as well as several computers in his home office. Foster tried to flee but crashed into a neighbour’s fence and got tackled by a police officer. He allegedly tried to grab the officer’s gun and was charged with assaulting him.

The betting syndicate has offices in London, Sydney and Hong Kong, but Foster’s hideout is said to have played a key role in the operation. Sports Trading Club takes investments between $50,000 and $250,000 and places bets on sports scores, in major events around the world.

In June, the company’s UK communication manager, Patrick McMahon, told reporters that investors had received a 1900% return since January 2013. “We don’t gamble, we trade,” he said. “We make money out of other peoples’ mistakes. When one side gambles and the other trades, it is like owning the casino.”

In July, the trading company said it had gained $150 million by backing Germany to win the FIFA World Cup. It also scored a “multi-million-dollar win” by betting against Serena Williams and Novac Djokovic at the Australian Open.

Brisbane Times: Conman Peter Foster tracked for a month before arrest

Serial conman Peter Foster spent more than a year on the run before police finally arrested him in his hideout near Byron Bay. The conman had been wanted since September last year, when he failed to show up for his court date at Brisbane Federal Court. The judge found him guilty of contempt of court.

NSW Superintendent Stuart Wilkins told reporters: “We had information from the last month or so he was in and around the Byron Bay area but not a specific location so this is a good result all round. As the result of excellent community consultation and a group of people working together this person has been arrested and will be now going before courts.”

Foster, 52, is known for a series of weight loss product scams, including a nasal spray called Sensaslim. His most recent appearance in court was for breaching a previous order to stop selling these products. Over the past year, the man had been telling the media that he was in Fiji, even sending photos of himself relaxing in a chair and reading a newspaper printed in Fiji.

The police said they were not sure how long he had been hiding at the Ewingsdale property where he was caught and arrested this week. He was chased by local detectives and a TV camera crew before being tackled.

He was charged with assaulting police officers and resisting arrest, but Detective Senior Constable Gary Sheehan told reporters: “He did show a great deal of concern about his mother…but other than that he was quite cooperative. He was very cooperative, quite remorseful and, in fact, he actually apologized to me in the courtroom.”

Daily Telegraph: Con man Peter Foster pleads guilty to assault after grabbing detective’s gun

While authorities have their doubts about Peter Foster’s claim of looking after his ailing mother, the conman pleaded guilty of assaulting detectives during his arrest at Byron Bay. He was transported to the Arthur Gorrie prison in Brisbane.

Foster blamed his actions on the news crew’s “Rambo style” pursuit, and his solicitor said he had been “confused” after attempting to run away from the cameras and escape through a back gate.

“He had an adrenaline rush. He wanted to get away from the film crew,” solicitor Terry Fisher explained.

According to Fisher, Foster had been looking after his mother and living the life of a “monk” for the past 11 months. “He has effectively been living like a monk. He should have just blended in with the locals (in northern NSW). The fact that he’s separated from his mother is causing him a great deal of pain. That is ffecting him quite deeply,” he added.

On the other hand, Tweed-Byron Local Area Commander Superintendent Stuart Wilkins claimed that Foster had been living with a male friend. Authorities did not want to comment on the allegations that Foster was running an online betting operation.

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