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Kevin Trudeau: He Just Might Be The Best Crook Ever

WASHINGTON – AUGUST 22: The best-selling book “Natural Cures” by Kevin Trudeau stands on display at a Borders bookstore August 22, 2005 in Washington, DC. Trudeau was formerly jailed for fraud and ordered by the U.S. government to stop selling health products through television infomercials. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Being a student of business, it hurts when I hear of a business person who has spent a lifetime scamming those who can least afford it. Info pitchman Kevin Trudeau is one of those folks. And, he’s the crook that no one seems to be able to stop. He’s been fined, jailed for short periods of time but just keeps coming back.

Most Likely To Succeed

In light of his career so far it’s not a surprise that Trudeau, the adopted son of Robert and Mary Trudeau, was voted “Most Likely To Succeed” by his St. Mary’s High School class in 1981.

Here is a list of the successes of this habitual criminal:

  • 1990-91: Larceny and Credit Card Theft: Deposited $80,000 in bad checks while posing as a doctor and plead guilty to larceny. That same year he stole credit card and social security numbers from customers who bought his memory product. He charged $122,735.68 on their cards. Two years in prison.
  • 1996 Nutrition for Life: Attorney Generals in Illinois and Michigan and the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Trudeau and his business partner for operating an illegal pyramid scheme. Trudeau paid fines to settle with both states of $185,000.
  • 1998 FTC Fines Infomercials: Trudeau’s infomercials were numerous. “Hair Farming,” “Mega Memory System,” “Addiction Breaking System,” “Action Reading,” “Eden’s Secret,” and “Mega Reading.” All with bogus claims that cost him $500,000 in fines.
  • 2004 Banned From Infomercials: Coral Calcium Supreme was the next bogus product that supposedly cured cancer and eliminated severe pain. Trudeau agreed to pay $2 million in fines, give up a mansion in California and a luxury automobile. He is also the first person in the US to be banned for life from promoting products using infomercials. Unfortunately that ruling did not extend to books.
  • 2008 Weight Loss Book: Once again bogus claims put Trudeau back in court. The court imposed a $5,173,000 fine (the projected amount of royalties he received from the book), but later amended the fine to $37 million which was the amount consumers paid responding to the false infomercials.
  • 2013 Jailed Again: Trudeau still owed the $37 million in fines and was jailed overnight for contempt. Trudeau was supposed to be only spending money on necessities while paying down his fine but it was discovered he spent $1,000 on meat from the internet, $900 for cigars and $185 for two haircuts. The court is re-examining his assets and spending and will make a future ruling on his case.

Some Final Thoughts

I have been following Trudeau’s career for years and quite honestly I am impressed with his body of work — illegal and harmful as it is. I wonder what great things he could have accomplished had he put his unarguable talent to work promoting honest products or services? What if “hair farming” had been Rogain instead? Or “weight loss secrets,” Jennie Craig or Weight Watchers? I guess we’ll never know. So will Kevin skate the system one more time? I guess only time will tell. It would be interesting to see how well his talents would work on inmates at one of our finer penal institutions.

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