Diet Pitchman Gets 10 Years for Bogus Infomercials

Judge rejects weight-loss author's plea for leniency
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2014 1:57 AM CDT
'Deceitful' Infomercial Pitchman Gets 10 Years
Television infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau speaks to the media after leaving the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago last fall.   (AP Photo/Sun-Times Media, Michael Jarecki)

If Kevin Trudeau wants to hawk his book, The Weight Loss Cure They Don't Want You to Know About, over the next 10 years, he'll have to do it from federal prison. The Chicago-based infomercial pitchman was sentenced to a decade in prison yesterday by a judge who rejected his pleas for leniency, citing his decades-long history of fraud and calling him "deceitful to the core," the Chicago Tribune reports. The judge accused him of treating previous court orders as mere "suggestions" or "impediments to be sidestepped, outmaneuvered, or just ignored."

The 50-year-old was found guilty last fall of defying a court order banning him from making false claims about the weight loss book by continuing to air misleading late-night infomercials at least 32,000 times. Prosecutors said he made at least $39 million from sales of the book, which he claimed offered a no-hunger, "diet-free" way of losing weight when it really described a tough, 500-calorie a day diet accompanied by hormone treatments, the AP notes. In his remarks to the court, Trudeau said he was a changed man, although he doesn't seem to be planning a career change. "I have truly had a significant reawakening," he said. "If I ever do an infomercial again ... I promise: No embellishments, no puffery, no lies." (More Kevin Trudeau stories.)

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