Judge Jails TV Pitchman Kevin Trudeau So He’ll Cooperate In Fraudulent Infomercial Case

Judge says he's been spending money he didn't want the FTC to know about.

Judge says he’s been spending money he didn’t want the FTC to know about.

How do you make a slippery late-night TV pitchman sit still and behave? If you’re a federal judge fed up with Kevin Trudeau’s shenanigans you put him in jail. Trudeau has reportedly flouted court orders to pay millions in fines stemming from fraudulent infomercials, and now the judge says he’s been spending money on stuff like cigars and fancy meat when he shouldn’t be.

The Chicago Tribune says U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman is holding a hearing today after ordering Trudeau into custody yesterday, after the informercial king apparently incurred expenses that were “far beyond ordinary and necessary.”

This came about after a Federal Trade Commission filing revealed Trudeau had shelled out thousands of dollars from an undisclosed Australian bank account he wasn’t supposed to have, spending $894 at a liquor store, $780 at Whole Foods, $359 on haircuts, $1,058 on high-end meat products and $921 on cigars. Which begs the question — what kind of meat party was he having and is it on Pinterest?

Trudeau is in the doghouse because Gettleman had ordered him to transfer all hidden assets to a court-appointed receiver or risk going to jail back in July, and to only spend money on life’s bare necessities.

“Incarceration is necessary to coerce defendant to provide complete and accurate information regarding the assets he possesses or controls,” Gettleman wrote Wednesday.

Trudeau’s claim to fame is a multi-million dollar business he built selling pain-relief adhesive tape and a cancer “cure,” among other things. He also made a whole load of dough off his book, The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About.

Infomercials touting that book fell afoul of FTC regulators who said his claims that it was chockfull of “easy” techniques was a lie, as it actually called for prescription hormone injections, a month of colon hydrotherapy and a 500-calorie-a-day diet.

The judge fined Trudeau nearly $38 million based on the number of those books sold. But instead of forking over the cash, Trudeau asked his followers to email the judge and endorse his products, crashing Gettleman’s email account and ticking him off severely, it seems.

Hearing today for TV pitchman ordered held in custody [Chicago Tribune]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.