Tea-Cholesterol Scam Nets Two
State health investigators and Los Angeles police Friday raided a Beverly Hills company that allegedly orchestrated a mail-order scam which fraudulently promoted in newspapers throughout the country a Chinese tea the company said could lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks, the city attorney’s office said.
Peter Clarence Foster, 26, a fugitive from Great Britain, and Australian national Trevor Brine, 42, were arrested in a morning raid at the Alanda Place headquarters of Virginia Investments. The two were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit grand theft. Bond for Foster and Brine was set at $500,000 and $250,000, respectively.
The city attorney’s office claimed Brine and Foster, who also had been accused in 1988 in Great Britain in a similar swindle, were behind the mail-order scheme in which consumers were told they could purchase a 30-day supply of tea that could “add years to your life or even save it.” Authorities said the men sold 3,000 orders but a mail service contracted to deliver the tea voluntarily held money that accompanied the orders at the request of police. The tea sold from $29.85 to $49.70 for a “family size course.”