TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau now in federal custody
October 22, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau was taken into custody by US Marshals after failing to pay a $37 million civil judgment.
Judge Robert Gettleman didn't believe the weight-loss guru's claim that he was broke and order Trudeau be jailed until he reveals his assets.
"The only way that Mr. Trudeau is going to get the message is to incarcerate him," the judge said Tuesday. More than five years ago, Gettleman fined Trudeau $37.5 million for allegedly using deceptive marketing practices in infomercials for his best-selling weight loss book. The money has not been paid.
Trudeau, who was by himself when he surrendered on Tuesday morning, will remain behind bars until he either pays $37 million or can prove his broke.
"I don't know what to do to purge myself of contempt. I don't know how to turn over assets that don't exist," Trudeau said.
"We do believe that Mr. Trudeau has significant assets that he has hidden from the court and from his victims," Jonathan Cohen, Federal Trade Commission, said.
The ABC7 I-Team has learned that Trudeau has written letters to business, banks and friends asking them to help show that he has no money as a last ditch effort stay out of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago. The judge was not swayed by those letters.
"The notion that letters by Mr. Trudeau to surrogates that he put in place doesn't do it for me. This doesn't change anything," Judge Gettleman said.
Trudeau spoke for about ten minutes in court before U.S. marshals took him into custody. Former Trudeau marketing director Peter Wink said he believes Trudeau is not being candid.
"He's not the type of person who's going to get out of jail and have no funds. It's not his makeup and it's not his personality," Wink said.
Trudeau has a status hearing on Thursday, and could be released then. However, Trudeau also faces separate criminal contempt charges that, if convicted, could lead to a longer sentence. That trial begins next month.
iteam, michelle gallardo
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