Kevin Trudeau has made a career of marketing “knowledge” to the public that he claims “they” want to hide. After years of fines and jail time, Trudeau’s saga is finally on the verge of coming to an end.
A federal jury found Trudeau guilty of criminal contempt Tuesday for hiding his assets and failing to pay the Federal Trade Commission $37 million.
The government had been trying to take down Trudeau throughout the 1990s for stealing identities, running a pyramid scheme, and producing deceptive advertising. The government gained real traction in 2004 when it imposed — for the first and only time on anyone — an infomercial ban for selling fraudulent products. He had been caught selling coral calcium as a cure for cancer.
The tenacious self-help master thought he found a loophole through selling books, but the FTC nabbed him again in 2007, claiming the diet outlined in “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You To Know About” was falsely advertised as simple and safe, and so the “product” contained within the pages was not protected by the First Amendment. The bizarre diet called for a lifelong 500 calorie-per-day meal plan, as well as injections of a hormone found in pregnant women. The infomercials have been pulled from the Internet.
Federal judge Robert W. Gettleman’s 2008 ruling fined Trudeau $US5 million and imposed a more comprehensive infomercial ban, which included book advertisements. A few months later, he amended the judgment to $US37 million, the amount his fans paid for the best-selling book.
Trudeau spent the following years fighting the case and promoting his name through conspiracy theories and anti-government rants on his online talk show, as well as through a motivational speaking circuit that attracted thousands across the country.
Here’s a long rant about the Mayan apocalypse, but you only need to see a moment of it to get an idea of who this guy is.
And while he’s not selling anything, notice the placement of his books in the background (accompanying a portrait of Ron Paul!):
Trudeau claimed that he could not pay his hefty fine because he held no assets. But a government investigation found that his wife Natalie Babenko, an NYU film student he married in 2008, was not actually in charge of the Trudeau empire she supposedly owned.
Despite his claim of impoverishment, Trudeau spent lavishly on a luxurious lifestyle. ABC’s Nightline found him earlier this year decked out in designer clothing and jewelry while shopping in Zurich, Switzerland.
Trudeau’s network was controlled through the Scientology-esque Global Information Network, but it will likely be dismantled by the FTC, and Trudeau’s possessions liquidated.
The judge ordered Trudeau to be taken into custody on Tuesday for posing a flight risk. He awaits sentencing in February.
His legend will only grow among some members of the Global Information Network. A member named Jumal Lewis waited in the courthouse lobby Tuesday as Trudeau faced the jury, and told the Chicago Tribune that his guru was like Nelson Mandela, fighting against an unjust government. “He has changed a lot of peoples’ lives,” he said.
No matter what is proven in court, the myth Trudeau has created will end fittingly, because the government really will shut him up for good.
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