Good news, everyone! Kevin Trudeau finally went to jail! You remember Trudeau from the world's most annoying infomercials that ran in the early-to mid-2000s.
A typical infomercial informs you that your life is an empty wasteland of misery and sorrow, a situation only remedied by a new JuiceBlazter complete juicing system, just three easy payments of $19.99!
Usually the worst thing that happens after you give in and babble your credit card information over the phone is that you're out about $60 and you have a juicer you never use.
Trudeau's commercials were different. He offered books like The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You To Know About, Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You To Know About... there's sort of a theme to his titles.
So you'd buy the (overpriced) books and get the cures, right? No, and that's where his Lex Luthor-level of evil genius revealed itself.
The books turn out to be another teaser: an ad you just bought, based on ad. After you glean a little bit of information from the book, you have to then access Trudeau's paid website to finally get all the information.
I know you'll be surprised by this, but most of it is total bunk.
Sure, there are some good bits of advice, like don't smoke, walk an hour a day, and so forth, but it's mixed in with a horrible hash of quackery. If you plan to follow his advice, here's hoping you like enemas every other day, and injecting yourself with dubious hormonal treatments. There are weird and vague claims that you can cure cancer by making yourself "alkaline," for example. Yeah, ask your doctor about that one, if you want to see a puzzled or angry look.
Trudeau, always one to see an opportunity, also sold the information gleaned from his customers to junk mail peddlers.
After several years of bamboozling the desperate and endangering the health of anyone who actually followed his advice, Trudeau was finally pinned down by the law. He was ordered to pay a $37.6-million fine levied by the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S., for deceptive marketing practices related to his book on dieting. Trudeau apparently finds 15 enemas in 30 days "easy;" the FTC felt this was not the case.
He didn't pay. And he kept on not paying, claiming that, somehow, he didn't have any cash.
In September and October, he was tossed in the clink twice for contempt of court, as Judge Robert Gettleman said he did not find his declaration of poverty convincing. He also found Trudeau in contempt of court for violating a freeze on his assets.
How do we know he was living beyond his court-appointed means? He used a debit card tied to an Australian bank account to spend $894 at a liquor store, $1,057 for meats, $359 for two haircuts, and (remember that bit about not smoking?) $920 for cigars.
Judge Gettleman, of whom I am quickly becoming a fan, warned Trudeau that if any other assets are discovered hidden away from the courts, he could find the flim-flam artist guilty of perjury.
He has let Trudeau out of jail for now, with a receiver poking about for any extra cash.
I strongly suspect that Trudeau will be back in jail at some point, given his past behaviour which includes a couple of years in jail for fraud in the 1990s, impersonating a doctor, and endorsing Scientology.
But I'll leave the last word to Judge Gettleman: "This is not an infomercial. You can't talk your way out of this."
@ Copyright 2013