Hopefully for a reasonably long stay, this time. His jailing was not directly for the fraud he has perpetrated, but rather for failing to comply with a judge’s order. Still, I’ll take it and be happy he’s put away. Someone as dishonest as Trudeau was bound to burn himself again.
Via the Chicago Sun Times:
Infomercial king Kevin Trudeau thrown in jail after lavish spending
For years, the feds say, he lived in the lap of luxury even as he claimed he was broke and ignored a court-imposed $38 million fine.
But two recent $180 Vidal Sassoon haircuts; a $900 cigar bill; $1,000 in high-end meats; a $900 liquor spree, and an $800 grocery bill from Whole Foods were luxuries too far for silver-tongued Oak Brook infomercial king Kevin Trudeau.
The 50-year-old convicted fraudster was jailed Wednesday by U.S. Judge Robert Gettleman, who finally lost patience with Trudeau’s repeated claims of poverty.
“This is not an infomercial — you can’t talk your way out of this” Gettleman told Trudeau after the TV pitchman made an impassioned plea for his freedom.
The judge held Trudeau in civil contempt for violating orders that required him to stop spending on everything except necessities and to cooperate fully with court-appointed receivers trying to get to the bottom of just how rich Trudeau really is.
Gettleman told Trudeau to “search his soul” and come clean about his wealth.
The Federal Trade Commission had presented bank statements showing Trudeau’s latest extravagancies and made allegations that Trudeau hid an Australian bank account containing $20,000 from the court just days after a July court hearing at which he was threatened with jail if he didn’t cooperate.
Trudeau’s continued “dissembling” shows that only jail has the power to coerce him into revealing the full extent of his foreign business interests and secret offshore bank accounts, the judge said.
Trudeau’s lawyer Thomas Kirsch begged Gettleman to reconsider, telling him that Trudeau truly doesn’t have the $38 million he was ordered to pay five years ago for flouting a court-ordered ban on making false claims in his diet book infomercials.
“There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” Kirsch said.
And Trudeau told the judge he was forced to use the bank accounts the court had frozen because “I had no money for food,” adding that he wanted to comply with the court’s orders and “wasn’t thinking” when he mistakenly got the pricey haircuts.
But Gettleman told Kirsch, “I’m asking for his honesty, and I haven’t got it yet.”
He ordered Trudeau to meet with the receivers and return to court on Thursday so that the receivers can tell Gettleman if Trudeau is being more forthcoming.
Trudeau has been in hot water for some time over the books he has sold on television, such as “Natural Cures They Do Not Want You to Know About.” He claims these books contain secrets that are oppressed by the medical mainstream and can cure everything from cancer to the common cold. He has sold similar books claiming cures for debt.
Trudeau had previously gotten in trouble for fraudulent products and thus had turned to selling books and information. This made prosecution more difficult because of freedom of speech concerns.
My argument against it:
Admittedly I am no lawyer and I can’t quote you the cases where constitutional rights have come into play during prosecution, but I believe a simple and logical argument can be made against protecting Trudeau due to freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech is important and nobody wants it protected more than me. Being able to speak openly about how you feel about politics, policy, social issues and really, anything, is part of having the open exchange of information in a society. However, there is a limit to it, when it comes to products you are selling.
Freedom of speech does not allow you to lie about a product or service you are selling. If I am selling cars and I tell you a car has 300 horsepower, was made in 2007 and has air conditioning, and then you buy the car and find it was made in 2002, has no air conditioning and a 100 horsepower motor, then I am both in civil and criminal trouble. Civil, because you can sue me, and criminal because the district attorney can prosecute me for fraud and I could go to jail.
What I have done by misrepresenting the product is committed fraud. In fact, I have committed theft by deception. I stole your money by tricking you into thinking you were trading it for a product you wanted. In fact, you gave me the money and received no such product. You received a misrepresented product that is not what you had been told it was.
Books are information. Information is more than just an academic or intangible thing. Information can be a tool and can have function. This is, after all, the entire basis of the software industry. When you buy software, you are buying information, literally ones and zeros encoded in pits on a CD surface or even as impulses of electrons or photons that are transmitted over the internet. But that information has function. The software can “do” something. It can edit photos or scan for viruses or help you design brochures. If it did not do what it was advertised to do, it would be fraud. If someone charged thousands for a 3D CAD program and the CD contained hundreds of pictures of cats, that would be clear cut fraud.
This is what Kevin Trudeau is doing. He says the books can allow you to do something by virtue of the information they contain. He says if you have cancer, that cancer can be cured. He says to cure it you just need the proper knowledge of what “natural” substances will make that cancer go away. When you buy his book, you gain this critical knowledge and you can now cure your cancer.
This is a lie and fraud. The man belongs in jail.