Judge Sends Pitchman Kevin Trudeau to Jail

"Mr. Trudeau, this is not an infomercial," federal judge says. "You can’t talk your way out of this one."

By Phil Rogers
|  Thursday, Sep 19, 2013  |  Updated 2:10 PM EDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Unit 5 Investigates: Kevin Trudeau

Photos and Videos

Unit 5 Investigates: Kevin Trudeau

Kevin Trudeau was once a very prominent pitchman, but now this west suburban salesman may go to jail if he doesn't pay the millions the government say he owes for deceiving his customers. NBC 5 Investigates Phil Rogers reports.
More Photos and Videos

An exasperated Judge Robert Gettleman ordered veteran pitchman Kevin Trudeau jailed Wednesday after a court-appointed receiver said the infomercial king was being elusive in disclosing his assets.

"I regret now not granting the order to incarcerate him earlier," Judge Robert Gettleman told the assembled lawyers, making clear that his patience had run out.

Attorneys for the Federal Trade Commission noted the report of a court-appointed receiver, who said Trudeau had failed to disclose thousands of dollars in an Australian bank account which he continued to draw down for lavish purchases of food, alcohol, cigars, even haircuts. The judge made clear that he was not amused.

"Mr. Trudeau, this is not an infomercial," Gettleman said. "You can’t talk your way out of this one."

Not that he didn’t try. Dressed in an electric blue sportcoat and pink shirt with an open collar, Trudeau strode from the counsel table to the lectern and personally pleaded for his freedom.

"I thought I was following this order," the accused flimflam man insisted. "I had no cash. I needed money for food."

"I want to comply one hundred percent," Trudeau told the judge. "There are not millions hidden in bank accounts, and I really want to help."

But the government lawyers countered that spending more than $500 for cigars and $900 on liquor, when Trudeau had been ordered not to make such purchases, hardly qualified as reasonable household expenses. The judge agreed.

"After my order prohibiting those types of expenses!" he thundered. "He continued to violate those orders!"

The judge ordered Trudeau to meet in the federal lockup with receiver Kenton Johnson in an effort to untangle his complicated global finances. He scheduled another hearing for Thursday.

For decades the celebrated pitchman offered fans everything from memory courses to get-rich-quick schemes to calcium tablets. His products offered for cures for maladies that ranged from cancer to multiple sclerosis.

Filings from the receiver on Tuesday indicated the veteran pitchman had hidden thousands in the Australian bank account and had actually spent much more than lawyers alluded to in court. The filing said Trudeau had shelled out nearly $900 on one trip to a Westmont liquor store, more than $920 at a west suburban cigar store, $1057 in meats from an online butcher, and $359 on haircuts at a Vidal Sassoon salon.

Cited with contempt, Trudeau faces a judgment of over $37 million.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
21st Century Solutions
The NBCUniversal Foundation is partnering... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out