Should Snake Oil Salesmen Go to Jail? For 10 Years?
Infomercial hack Kevin Trudeau gets a big jail sentence. Does the punishment fit the crime?
March 18, 2014 - 8:00 am
CHICAGO – Best-selling author Kevin Trudeau, whose name became synonymous with late-night TV pitches, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday for bilking consumers through ubiquitous infomercials for his book, “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.”
As he imposed the sentence prosecutors had requested, U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman portrayed the 50-year-old Trudeau as a habitual fraudster going back to his early adulthood. So brazen was Trudeau, the judge said, he once even used his own mother’s Social Security number in a scheme.
“Since his 20s, he has steadfastly attempted to cheat others for his own gain,” Guzman said, adding that Trudeau is “deceitful to the very core.”
Daily Mail: Best-selling author Kevin Trudeau jailed for TEN YEARS as judge calls him an ‘uncontrollable huckster’ for selling fake weight loss tips
He sold more than 850,000 copies of the weight-loss book, generating $39 million in revenue, prosecutors say. And the judge agreed with prosecutors that the amount of loss stemming from Trudeau’s deception was more than $37 million — nearly the amount in revenue.
But in remarks Monday asking for a sentence of less than two years for his client, defense attorney Tom Kirsch said the harm Trudeau caused was minor compared to fraud in which some people are cheated out of their life savings.
‘A 10-year sentence might be appropriate for a defendant who destroyed lives,’ Kirsch said. ‘(But) Trudeau — if he swindled anyone — swindled them out of $30 (the price of the book).’
His claims include: ‘The sun does not cause cancer. Sun block has been shown to cause cancer.’
Another one of his statements is that Aids is ‘one of the greatest hoaxes and deceptions ever perpetrated on the American public’.
image via USA Today