Chicago News

TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau released from jail

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Television pitchman Kevin Trudeau is a free man after spending one night in jail, but his legal troubles are far from over.

Trudeau was released at 5 p.m. on Thursday and left the jail facility without any comment, but he was a bit more talkative in court on Thursday. Judge Robert Gettleman also had a lot to say, summing up Trudeau's once-vast self-help empire: "It sounds to me like people are buying into nothing, in a sense, and this money keeps trickling down."

In court, lawyers laid out a series of expenses that they say prove he's still living large.

On Thursday, a federal judge said he doesn't think Trudeau is being truthful about his finances and hopes the night behind bars will encourage him to be more cooperative.

Trudeau is facing a $37 million fine for misleading claims he made in a best-selling book.

This self-help guru "needs help" coming clean about his assets. So says a federal judge, who set Trudeau free, despite his misgivings.

"Millions of dollars have passed through these entities and we don't know where that money is. You're saying you're broke Mr. Trudeau, and that's pretty hard to swallow," said Judge Robert Gettleman.

"I don't have $37 million hidden someplace. If they can find $37 million, pop the champagne, good luck," said Kevin Trudeau, in an April interview with ABC News.

Trudeau sounded a similar tune in court on Thursday.

"I'm penniless and homeless. You have it all. I surrender. I am at your mercy," said Trudeau.

But that's not entirely true. Trudeau lives in a luxurious house in Oak Brook. And a court-appointed receiver gives him a $4,700 a month allowance.

The receiver has said he will stop paying the rent on the Oak Brook mansion and the judge is considering cutting off Trudeau's allowance.

The man behind best-selling books and self-help seminars is connected to a series of overseas companies. Some are in Trudeau's wife's name, who is back in her native Ukraine.

Among the items causing the court to question whether Trudeau is being truthful about his lack of assets are: $644,000 in commissions in the last year paid to a company the judge thinks is controlled by Kevin Trudeau, and purchases including $100,000 worth of gold bars.

"There's just too much money here to say there's nothing left," the judge told Trudeau.

As part of his condition for release, Trudeau is required to meet with that court-appointed receiver and reveal all of his assets and his locations. If he doesn't, the judge warned him in no uncertain terms that he would end up back at the Metropolitan Correctional Center with a new charge, criminal contempt of court.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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