Chicago-based TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau was sentenced to 10 years in prison today for repeatedly defying court orders to pay a whopping $37 million fine over his fraudulent infomercials.
Trudeau, 51, smiled slightly as U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman imposed the sentence. The judge called him “deceitful to the very core.”
A Trudeau supporter caused a disturbance in the courtroom during the sentence, refused to leave and was carried out by security officers.
Ed Foreman, 80, of Dallas, who identified himself as a former Congressman, was ticketed for creating a disturbance, a petty offense payable by fine, officials said.
Trudeau issued a long statement, saying his four months in a Loop jail had changed his perspective and led him to realize he had made many errors. He looked frazzled from his four-month stay in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal Loop jail.
But Judge Guzman was unimpressed, saying Trudeau treated court orders as impediments to be ignored and that his conduct eroded faith in the judicial system.
Trudeau was jailed in November for failing to pay the massive FTC fine, but that is a separate matter from his criminal conviction for contempt, so he will not receive credit for those 4 months toward the 10-year prison sentence imposed today.
In a court filing last week, prosecutors ripped the infomercial king for what they called his “brazen defiance” of federal judges in Chicago over the past decade and accused him of preying on the sick, the poor and the insecure over three decades of fraud and deceit.
Trudeau has been jailed since Nov. 12 when he was convicted by a federal jury of criminal contempt for lying in infomercials about the contents of his weight loss book that called for punishing calorie restrictions and a crippling list of food restrictions.
Prosecutors said Trudeau has made no payments toward the $37 million fine imposed by the Federal Trade Commission despite continuing to live a lavish lifestyle. Between mid-2010 and March 2013, Trudeau spent at least $12 million on first-class airfare, gym memberships, trips to the salon, $12,000 cuff links, a six-figure Bentley automobile and a mansion in Oak Brook and a California residence that cost a combined $15,500 a month, according to the filing.
Trudeau sold more than 850,000 copies of “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About,” bringing in sales of $49 million, prosecutors said. About 57,000 buyers returned the book for a partial refund despite the difficult mechanism to do that, said prosecutors, who laid out a history of fraud by Trudeau that they said dates to the mid-1980s.
Trudeau “preys upon the sick who want to be made healthy, the poor who want to become rich, and the insecure who want to feel better about themselves,” prosecutors wrote in the filing.
Last week, Trudeau sent a two-page letter to U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman asking the judge to intervene in his case before Guzman and suggesting a sentence of as little as six months. Trudeau wrote he has been in a “state of deep reflection and contemplation” at the Metropolitan Correctional Center” and knows now that he has “made many mistakes along the way.”
“I have taken 100 percent responsibility for all this,” he wrote, “I have seen where I must change and be a better person. I have the deepest, most sincere regret and remorse.”
Since his incarceration, Trudeau and his wife have been “wiped out financially” and rendered “effectively homeless,” he wrote. He said when he is released he will be a changed man and live at home with his ailing parents.
“I have made a promise to myself, my wife, my parents and God that the future will be different,” Trudeau wrote.
Source: Chicago Tribune