Infomercial king Kevin Trudeau thrown in jail after lavish spending
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter September 18, 2013 12:30PM
Kevin Trudeau leaves federal court in Chicago in 2010. | Sun-Times files
HOW ‘PAUPER’ SPENT HIS MONEY
Kevin Trudeau says he’s broke. But the government says he recently spent:
◆ $894.30 in a single visit to Westmont Liquors.
◆ $780.48 in two trips to Whole Foods in Hinsdale.
◆ $359.00 for two haircuts at Vidal Sassoon.
◆ $1,057.88 on high-end meat products at www.grasslandbeef.com
◆ $920.86 on cigars from the Humidor of Westmont.
Updated: October 20, 2013 7:32AM
For years, the feds say, he lived in the lap of luxury even as he claimed he was broke and ignored a court-imposed $38 million fine.
But two recent $180 Vidal Sassoon haircuts; a $900 cigar bill; $1,000 in high-end meats; a $900 liquor spree, and an $800 grocery bill from Whole Foods were luxuries too far for silver-tongued Oak Brook infomercial king Kevin Trudeau.
The 50-year-old convicted fraudster was jailed Wednesday by U.S. Judge Robert Gettleman, who finally lost patience with Trudeau’s repeated claims of poverty.
“This is not an infomercial — you can’t talk your way out of this” Gettleman told Trudeau after the TV pitchman made an impassioned plea for his freedom.
The judge held Trudeau in civil contempt for violating orders that required him to stop spending on everything except necessities and to cooperate fully with court-appointed receivers trying to get to the bottom of just how rich Trudeau really is.
Gettleman told Trudeau to “search his soul” and come clean about his wealth.
The Federal Trade Commission had presented bank statements showing Trudeau’s latest extravagancies and made allegations that Trudeau hid an Australian bank account containing $20,000 from the court just days after a July court hearing at which he was threatened with jail if he didn’t cooperate.
Trudeau’s continued “dissembling” shows that only jail has the power to coerce him into revealing the full extent of his foreign business interests and secret offshore bank accounts, the judge said.
Trudeau’s lawyer Thomas Kirsch begged Gettleman to reconsider, telling him that Trudeau truly doesn’t have the $38 million he was ordered to pay five years ago for flouting a court-ordered ban on making false claims in his diet book infomercials.
“There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” Kirsch said.
And Trudeau told the judge he was forced to use the bank accounts the court had frozen because “I had no money for food,” adding that he wanted to comply with the court’s orders and “wasn’t thinking” when he mistakenly got the pricey haircuts.
But Gettleman told Kirsch, “I’m asking for his honesty, and I haven’t got it yet.”
He ordered Trudeau to meet with the receivers and return to court on Thursday so that the receivers can tell Gettleman if Trudeau is being more forthcoming.
Gettleman wrote earlier this summer that he has seen “evidence that Trudeau is living much more like a prince than the pauper he professes to be.” That includes Trudeau’s use of top-dollar attorneys and allegations that he drives a $340,000 Bentley and employs two personal chefs and a butler at his suburban Chicago home.
Gettleman froze the assets of multiple businesses and offshore accounts that Trudeau allegedly controls and held Trudeau in contempt in July. He warned the tanned, sharp-suited Trudeau at the time that he faced a “much harsher result” if he and his lawyers continued to gripe.
Trudeau’s long-standing legal difficulties stem from his book, “The Weight-Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About,” which he falsely advertised as giving “easy” solutions to weight loss.
If he ever pays the fine, the money will be shared among readers who bought the book.