CHICAGOKevin Trudeau, the controversial TV pitchman whose battles with the government date back to at least the 1990s, was sentenced Monday to 10 years in federal prison for violating a court order that barred him from making infomercials that misrepresented the contents of his book on weight loss cures.
In TV infomercials between December 2006 and July 2007, Trudeau misrepresented to consumers that his book"The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About"was not a "diet" even though it required consumers to eat 500 calories or less a day for at least three weeks, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois. Trudeau also claimed consumers could eat anything after finishing the diet without worrying about packing on the pounds and falsely stated that a hormone in pregnant women could be obtained "anywhere" when it is only available through a doctor's prescription, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
The 51-year-old Trudeau, U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman said, "has attempted to cheat others for his own personal gain" since he was 25 years old.
Guzman ordered the infomercial pitchman to 10 years of prison and five years of supervised release following his conviction last November by a jury in a week-long trial. Trudeau was ordered to cooperate with the collection of civil judgments and abide by court orders during his release.
Tom Kirsch, Trudeau's defense lawyer, told CNN his client plans to file a notice of appeal in the case.
In a sentencing memo, federal prosecutors painted Trudeau as "an unrepentant, untiring, and uncontrollable huckster who has defrauded the unsuspecting for 30 years."
Last year, U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman jailed Trudeau for contempt of court, finding he repeatedly neglected to pay USD $37 million in fines for violating a settlement with the FTC, according to USA Today.
Gettleman was the same judge who ordered Trudeau in 2009 to pay $37.6 million in an amended judgment for violating a 2004 stipulation with the FTC. The pitchman was found to have misrepresented the content of his weight-loss book, FTC said at the time.
FTC first sued Trudeau in 1998, claiming he made false and misleading claims in infomercials that products could cause substantial weight loss, cure additions to alcohol, cigarettes and heroine and enable users to obtain a photographic memory. Under a stipulated order, Trudeau was directed to pay $500,000 to compensate consumers and establish a $500,000 performance bond to ensure compliance.
Five years later, the FTC charged Trudeau with violating the 1998 order by falsely claiming that a product (Coral Calcium Supreme) could cure cancer. According to the agency, Trudeau agreed to resolve the matter in 2004 under an order that enjoined him from doing infomercials except to promote books provided he didn't misrepresent the content of the publications.
"There are natural remedies for weight loss that the drug companies and the food industry do not want you to know about," Trudeau said in one of his TV infomercials on YouTube.
"The food industry does not want the message 'eat less, exercise more'. Why?" Trudeau asked. "Because eating less means people consume less food."