Feds urge jail for pitchman Kevin Trudeau
June 26, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- After two decades of tangling with infomercial king Kevin Trudeau, federal attorneys in Chicago on Wednesday asked that the pitchman be put in jail for ignoring court orders.
It is merely coincidence that Trudeau's last name is composed of the words true and dough. The government says he is untruthful and he says he has no dough and so the Federal Trade Commission wants this ex-con infomercial star to be locked up until he pays back more than $37 million to consumers that the FTC says he cheated.
When Trudeau walked into the federal courthouse in Chicago Wednesday, federal authorities didn't want him to walk out.
They are asking Judge Robert Gettleman to put Trudeau behind bars for ignoring a $37 million penalty Gettleman imposed six years ago.
The fine was over this weight loss book peddled by Trudeau and bogus claims that he made in infomercials while selling it.
Trudeau has faced 20 years of inquiries, investigations and insults by officials from the Illinois Attorney General, the FTC, federal prosecutors and consumer groups.
Wednesday his attorneys shuttled between two federal courtrooms trying to fend off new efforts to have him jailed by an obviously perturbed Judge Gettleman in the civil case and by Judge Ronald Guzman in a new criminal contempt case, who may seize his passport.
Trudeau claims to be broke, although the government claims he has hidden assets and lives a high-roller lifestyle.
Last month, ABC News found Trudeau in Switzerland where he lives in a lakeside apartment wears fancy jewelry and still says he's broke.
- Trudeau: I don't have $37 million hidden some place.
Reporter: Because you're spending it all.
Trudeau: I'm spending it all. And even if I was, there's nothing wrong with that, either.
Reporter: Really? I think the judge might disagree with that.
Trudeau: Listen. That's what the court case is about. If they can find $37 million, pop the champagne, good luck. I know what I'm doing is right. You saw those people, those people on stage. This crowd, what I'm doing, is good. The people that bought that book, the weight loss cure, it changed their life. I don't care what the government says.
Trudeau's attorneys maintain that he always shows up for court hearings and is not a flight risk. They say there is no reason for him to be put in jail and to do so would be unfair.
The federal lock-up certainly would be less lavish than Trudeau's accommodations in Zurich where, according to credit card records subpoenaed by the FTC, late last year he spent $30,000 on an Oriental rug and $110,000 at furniture boutiques.
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