If, like me, you’re not a stranger to scanning through the meager offerings on late-night TV, you will more than likely recognize TV pitchman Don Lapre, whose numerous get-rich-quick ads became so infamous he was spoofed on Saturday Night Live. They also landed Lapre in an Arizona jail on charges of, among other things, mail fraud and promotional money laundering. And this is where the 47-year-old was found yesterday morning, dead of an apparent suicide.
According to CBS News, Lapre was only a few days away from standing trial for allegations that his his company, The Greatest Vitamin in the World, tricked at least 220,000 people with worthless Internet-based businesses mostly revolving around a pyramid scheme to sell vitamins that did not provide the health benefits he claimed.
Had Lapre been convicted, he would have faced penalties of between $250,000 to $500,000 for each count and 5-25 years in federal prison.