Author and television pitchman Kevin Trudeau was convicted today of criminal contempt for violating a 2004 federal court order that prohibits him from making deceptive television infomercials that misrepresent the contents of his weight loss cure book. A federal jury deliberated approximately an hour after a week-long trial in U.S. District Court.
Trudeau, 50, of Oak Brook, had his bond revoked, and he was ordered taken into custody by U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman, who set a schedule for post-trial motions but no sentencing date.
Criminal contempt has no statutory maximum sentence. The Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The guilty verdict was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Tony Gómez, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago; and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the evidence at trial, Trudeau appeared in three television infomercials between December 2006 and November 2007 in which he willfully misrepresented the contents of his book The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. In April 2010, U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman issued an order to show cause why Trudeau should not be held in criminal contempt of a September 2, 2004 settlement in which Trudeau agreed not to directly or indirectly produce and broadcast any deceptive infomercials that misrepresented the contents of any book, including the weight loss cure book. (Federal Trade Commission v. Trudeau, No. 03 C 3904.)
In closing arguments today, prosecutors listed a litany of blatant lies and misrepresentations made by Trudeau in his infomercials. These included his claims that his book was not a “diet,” when in fact it required at least three weeks of eating 500 calories or less a day, and that a hormone found only in pregnant women that was required to be injected daily could be obtained “anywhere,” when in fact it could be obtained in the United States only through a doctor’s prescription. He also claimed that after finishing the diet, consumers could eat anything they wanted without regaining weight, when in fact the diet required severe food deprivation that lasts for life.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys April Perry and Marc Krickbaum.
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