Sunday, February 14, 2010

Scam Artist Spams Judge

Ubiquitous, late night, informercial staple Kevin Trudeau has been found in contempt by a Chicago area judge for the second time and forced to post a $50,000 bond, plus surrender his passport, while awaiting sentencing on at least one of the charges, next week.

In open court, U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman said that he'll likely require jail time and a fine because Mr. Trudeau bombarded his email with letters of support from his followers, some of which could be considered threatening and all of which are undergoing analysis by the U.S. Marshals Service in a first of its kind investigation.

Trudeau, who previously served two years on a 1991 conviction for credit card fraud, where he charged more than $122,000 to the cards of eleven customers from one of his prior schemes is currently awaiting final sentencing for this most recent act of contempt, and a previous conviction after he successfully appealed the judge's amended punishment for violating a 2004 court order.

After run-ins with the SEC, the FTC and eight states for pyramid schemes and selling products using false and misleading statements, Trudeau settled an action by the Federal Trade Commission in 2004, by paying a $2 million dollar fine and agreeing to a lifetime ban "from appearing in, producing, or disseminating future infomercials that advertise any type of product, service, or program to the public, except for truthful infomercials for informational publications".

In 2007, the FTC charged that some of the marketing statements for a book titled The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About were misleading because its infomercial claimed that the weight loss program was something easy, consumers could do at home without exercise and would allow them to eat anything they want, while the actual publication outlined a complex plan with lifetime dietary restrictions and exercise requirements, daily injections of a growth hormone available only by prescription and regular colonics, which must be administered by a licensed practitioner.

Mr. Trudeau was found guilty of making "patently false" statements to sell his weight loss book, thus putting him in violation of the '04 order.

Initially, Judge Gettleman sentenced him to pay a fine of more than $5 million dollars and imposed a three year moratorium on appearing in any informercial for a product in which he holds an interest, but both Mr. Trudeau and the FTC asked him to reconsider the sentence. After less than a month's time, the judge decided to keep the three year moratorium, but upped the fine to more than $37 million dollars, which is what the Federal Trade Commission alleges Mr. Trudeau had received from the estimated 32,000 times the infomercial ran.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Mr. Trudeau's conviction last fall, but directed Judge Gettleman to do more fact-finding to justify the fine. In an attempt to sway the court, Mr. Trudeau reached out to his customers via email and through his website asking them to contact the judge, which caused his email account to become flooded.

This was not only a demonstrable inconvenience to the court, but it also violated the rules governing ex-parte communications.

And because you've most likely seen a Kevin Trudeau infomercial recently, while awaiting the appeal and fact-finding effort, he has been actively marketing Free Money "They" Don't Want You to Know About, a book published in 2009 and a product in which he holds an interest.

This guy will never quit.

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