Nov 15 2013
Following the spectacle of Kevin Trudeau has been fascinating and disgusting. Trudeau is a career con-man, convicted of fraud, who has simply moved from one con to the next. He came to prominence as the king of infomercial, selling, for example, his coral calcium supplements.
After he was essentially banned from selling such products by the FTC, Trudeau realized he could just sell information in the form of books and access to websites. Information, he reasoned, is protected free speech. He has also learned the power of the conspiracy theory – make outrageous claims and cover up all the blatant logical flaws and lack of evidence with a grand conspiracy about how the powers that be are trying to keep such information from the public.
He started with “Natural cures they don’t want you do know about” – it was a huge success. Trudeau had hit upon a formula (although nothing new) to combine claims people want to believe with the suggestion that powerful people are keeping that information from them. I suspect part of the success of this approach is that the very people who are susceptible to such claims are also easy targets.
I remember a discussion with an acquaintance who had read the natural cures book and swallowed it whole. They were sold, and believed they had access to all sorts of medical secrets that evil doctors and corporations were keeping from them. That fact that Trudeau had previous fraud convictions did not seem to matter much.
Trudeau represents the double-con of health-care fraudsters like himself – they steal your health as well as your money.
Trudeau followed up with other “they don’t want you to know about” books including weight loss and money-making schemes. The FTC, however, had never taken their sights off Trudeau and eventually he found himself back in court. The primary charge against Trudeau is that he lied in his weight loss book. He promised a weight loss program without diet and exercise, but when you then pay to access the actual plan it includes diet and exercise. Lying in order to get people to give you money is fraud.
Trudeau was hit with a $37 million dollar judgement. Since then he moved out of country and has, the court believes, been furiously hiding his assets in off shore accounts and corporations under his wife’s name.
The latest development is that judge Robert Gettleman has found him in contempt of court for not complying with the $37 million dollar judgement. Trudeau has the audacity to claim poverty, meanwhile he is spending millions on his defense attorneys, and by all accounts is living a lavish lifestyle. Despite this Trudeau is not in jail – Gettleman is concerned with getting the money to repay some of the people Trudeau conned and thinks this is more likely to happen if Trudeau is out of jail.
I don’t understand that, however. The entire affair is an enlightening lesson in the limits of our current laws and regulations. Someone like Trudeau, who is a convicted con artist, who has relentlessly preyed upon the public in the most callous manner, not only fleecing millions but causing unmeasurable harm to the health of those who bought into his cons, has managed to mostly evade justice for years. Why he isn’t rotting in prison for the rest of his life I don’t understand.
There seems to be the will by the FTC and Gettleman to put this man away, but it doesn’t happen. There are racketeering laws and three-strike laws to deal with career criminals, but apparently no such law to deal with career con-artists. People like Trudeau are incorrigible, likely sociopaths, who are predators. The criminal justice system exists mostly to protect the public from such predators, and yet fails when it comes to these types of cons.
I would add other names to the list of those who, in my opinion, appear to be career con artists and should be rotting in prison – Sylvia Browne, Dennis Lee, and Peter Popoff to name just a few.
If Trudeau does not end up broke and in prison, the system has failed, and we should carefully analyze why it failed and fix the deficiencies.
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