UPDATE 10/6/17: As convicted TV con man Kevin Trudeau continues to serve out a 10-year prison sentence for lying in infomercials to sell his book “The Weight Loss Cure They Don’t Want You to Know About,” the FTC is sending out a second round of refund checks totaling more than $6 million to the hundreds of thousands of consumers who bought the book. The first round of checks was mailed in June 2016. For more information on the refunds, click here.
Kevin Trudeau was sentenced Monday to 10 years in jail for criminal contempt by a federal judge in Chicago who called him “deceitful to the very core.” In sentencing Trudeau, Judge Ronald Guzman dismissed the infomercial king’s last-minute attempt to have a second judge, who is presiding over Trudeau’s civil court case, intervene on his behalf for a reduced sentence of six months or no more than two years. In a letter sent to Judge Robert Gettleman, who has found Trudeau in civil contempt for failing to pay a $37.6 million court-ordered penalty, Trudeau said he was a changed man “humbled beyond imagination” who has lost everything and is now “effectively homeless.” Trudeau plans to appeal the sentence.
The Established in 1914 under President Woodrow Wilson, the FTC is the United States government’s primary regulatory authority in the area of consumer protection and anti-competitive business practices in the marketplace. Its Bureau of Consumer Protection assumes the lead in the Commission’s efforts to eliminate deceptive advertising and fraudulent business practices at work in the economy., which has been locked in a battle to stop Kevin Trudeau from making deceptive advertising claims, recommended the infomercial king get 10 years in jail. Putting aside Trudeau’s 30-year history of fraud and deception, and the fact that he lied his pants off in infomercials to sell more than 850,000 copies of his book “The Weight Loss Cure They Don’t Want You to Know About,’’ below are 10 additional facts TINA.org learned from the FTC’s sentencing memorandum that has us thinking 10 years in prison may not be enough.
Trudeau concocted the idea of making infomercials to sell a weight-loss book before he had lost weight or even written a book because he believed “[i]f you want to get rich, write a book on how to lose weight.”
Even though Trudeau sold more than 850,000 books through fraudulent infomercials, he claims that only the 67 individuals that complained to the BBB or FTC about the book can be counted as victims of his fraud.
He uttered this classic quote: “I have been in the TV infomercial and direct response industry for over 20 years . . . The advertisements for these products are all false and misleading. I should know because I was involved in the production of many of them.”
It is expected at the sentencing hearing that a man will testify that his brother, relying on another Trudeau book, “Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About,” stopped taking his heart medication and subsequently died.
He said this in an email to Donald Barrrett, founder and president of ITV (and fellow TINA.org Wall-of-Shamer) who the FTC said worked with Trudeau to sell the weight-loss book: “I suggest you again let legal know that they DO NOT tell sales what to do . . . but rather give OPINIONS and the EXECs make the decisions.”
When customers started returning his weight-loss books at an unusually high rate, Trudeau asked, “is there a way we can get hundreds of GOOD comments wriiten [sic] on a daily basis on sites like amazon and others? For weight loss and my other books?”
The man can lie. In a sworn financial statement Trudeau claims that a bank account he controlled contained “under $1,500,” when it actually contained more than $130,000. He further claimed that his only personal property was $2,000 worth of clothing, even though he spent more than $15,000 in a men’s clothing store only months before. And he also denied knowing his wife’s address, her employment status or whether she owned any personal property.
Befitting a schemer who has been held in contempt of court seven times, Trudeau has said that dozens of the top lawyers in the country (that’s at least 24) have examined his contempt case and told him, “KT this is political. These judges are being told what to do. This is not a judge ruling. This is the politicians and the powers that be controlling the judges and getting them to rule a certain way.”
In a Facebook post Trudeau proclaimed his innocence and likened himself to “all the people that stood silent and did not speak in their own defense . . . Jesus, Mandela, Gandhi, Chavez.”
In June 2010, Trudeau was ordered by the court to pay the $37-million judgment against him based on his fraudulent infomercials for the weight loss book. Instead of paying a cent, he paid an asset protection specialist $5 million to hide his money, and he lived in luxury spending at least $12 million in less than three years – racking up $3 million plus in credit-card charges, driving a Bentley, living in two mansions, buying $12,000 cuff links, and moving to Switzerland.
This story was updated several times, most recently on 1/19/14.