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March 18, 2014

Infomercial celebrity to be selling in federal prison for next decade

Kevin_Trudeau-Prison_Escape_PlanAs reported in this local article, headlined "TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau sentenced to 10 years in prison," a salesman many have seen on late-night television will now only be seen in federal prison for a long time. Here are the sentencing details:

When TV huckster Kevin Trudeau stood in a packed federal courtroom to make one final sales pitch Monday, he hardly resembled the tanned, dapper figure seen hawking miracle diets and natural cancer cures on so many late-night infomercials.  After spending four months in jail for contempt of court, Trudeau’s trademark jet black coif was thin and gray. His usual tailored suit was replaced by rumpled orange jail clothes.  Even his typical air of defiance had turned to contrition, a change he said washed over him during his sleepless first night in custody.

“If I ever write a book again, if I ever do another infomercial again, I promise no embellishment, no puffery and absolutely no lies,” Trudeau told U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman in a remorseful tone.  “I know going forward I will be a better person.”

But the judge wasn’t buying a word.  Moments after Trudeau’s plea for leniency, a visibly irritated Guzman sentenced the best-selling author to 10 years in prison, citing Trudeau’s decades-long history of fraud and calling him “deceitful to the core.”

“He has treated federal court orders as if they were mere suggestions...or at most impediments to be sidestepped, outmaneuvered or just ignored,” Guzman said in handing down an unusually lengthy prison term for a contempt conviction.  “That type of conduct simply cannot stand.”...

Trudeau has been jailed since Nov. 12 when he was convicted by a federal jury of criminal contempt for lying in several infomercials about the contents of his hit book, “The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About.”  Prosecutors said he ignored a previous court order by describing the program as easy when it actually called for punishing calorie restrictions and a crippling list of food restrictions.  Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman has repeatedly found Trudeau in civil contempt for failing to pay anything toward a $37.6 million fine imposed by the Federal Trade Commission in spite of continuing to live a lavish lifestyle.

On Monday, prosecutors cited Trudeau’s history of fraud that goes back to a state conviction in 1984.  “He is a habitual liar and a fraudster,” Assistant U.S. Attorney April Perry said.  As a result of the size of the fraud and Trudeau’s two previous felony convictions, federal sentencing guidelines called for 20 to 25 years in prison, a range that Guzman said he thought was “appropriate.”  However, he eventually agreed with prosecutors who said a 10-year term was sufficient since -- unlike in many fraud cases -- no one who bought Trudeau’s book was financially ruined.

Trudeau’s attorneys argued that prosecutors vastly inflated the amount of harm done by Trudeau’s misleading infomercials, saying many buyers were satisfied with the weight loss book.  In his lengthy statement to the court, Trudeau said he has been “completely wiped out” financially and that he and his wife Nataliya Babenko, 26, are “effectively homeless.” He said his time at the Metropolitan Correctional Center has changed his perspective and led him to realize he had made many errors. While he wouldn’t wish incarceration on anyone, the experience has wound up being “one of the best, most positive things in my life,” Trudeau said.

“In the past four months I have been stripped of all ego, defiance, arrogance and pride and for that I am thankful,” Trudeau said as he stooed at a lectern and read from typed notes.

But Judge Guzman was unimpressed, noting that in his three decades of fraud, Trudeau had taken on more than a dozen different aliases and even used his mother’s Social Security number to perpetrate a scam. “That doesn’t happen by accident, and it doesn’t happen by good intentions,” the judge said. “It is a reflection of a person’s character.”

March 18, 2014 at 09:19 AM | Permalink

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Comments

But wait! There's more!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 18, 2014 9:47:07 AM

Sorry, but I do have problems with a contempt finding premised on a diet description. Contempt for non-payment of the fine is okay (depending on the actual basis of the FTC action), but whether a diet is easy or hard is going to depend a great deal upon the individual.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Mar 18, 2014 10:50:41 AM

// Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman has repeatedly found Trudeau in civil contempt for failing to pay anything
toward a $37.6 million fine imposed by the Federal Trade Commission in spite of continuing to live a lavish lifestyle. //

versus \\ In his lengthy statement to the court, Trudeau said he has been “completely wiped out” financially
and that he and his wife Nataliya Babenko, 26, are “effectively homeless.” \\

Hmmmnnn! Which is it?
I’m picturing people going cross-eyed & Steve Martin vacating his mansion in “The Jerk”.

----- Perhaps Babenko should remove to Ukraine whilst it’s not quite Putin-land.
or
----- Join Lois Lerner on a “Loose Lips Sink Sinister Ships” campaign funded by an Annenberg Foundation/federal partnership.

“At a court-ordered deposition a few days later, Babenko invoked her Fifth Amendment rights, declining to answer all but a few questions”
“At the May 22 hearing, Lerner pleaded the Fifth declined to answer the committee’s questions”

• abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2013/05/kevin-trudeau-chasing-the-dream-seller/
• www.nationalreview.com/corner/372606/lerner-refuses-testify-again-eliana-johnson

Posted by: Adamakis | Mar 18, 2014 1:25:23 PM

Gee? Prosecuted for blatant advertising versus subliminal advertising. If people are that dumb, they deserve to be parted from their small amount of money. We need the government to protect us from ourselves now. Who would of thunk it.

I hope that we logically follow the next self-evident steps and build more prison space to house most politicians, judges and LE.

Does anyone know if Judge Guzman or US Attorney April Perry have weight problems and if they bought the book and are mad that it didn't work for them?

Posted by: albeed | Mar 18, 2014 2:32:06 PM

Hhhhmmm, sounds more along the lines of what our politicians and D.C. power insiders do on a daily basis, proposing lies, half truths and ripping off taxpayer dollars to live a lavish lifestyle.

Posted by: Greg | Mar 18, 2014 7:37:33 PM

I was kind of thinking the same thing Greg when I read this!

“He has treated federal court orders as if they were mere suggestions...or at most impediments to be sidestepped, outmaneuvered or just ignored,”

this biased judge just described pretty much every politician in American if not the world.

so when is their trials?

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 19, 2014 2:08:26 AM

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