Weight loss charlatan banned from infomercials temporarily

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Kevin Trudeau, author of the book "The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About," has been banned from participating in infomercials for the next three years. In addition to this punishment, a judge has ordered him to give up over $5 million in profits from the book. And amazingly, this is Trudeau's second time being found in contempt of court in recent years.

In 2004, Trudeau was order to stop misrepresenting the content of his books in infomercials. A judge said that he was misleading consumers, making them think the weight loss book would give them an easy method that would let them eat whatever they wanted to after they were done. Except the diet wasn't simple; it required colonics by a licensed practitioner and injection of a human growth hormone, and it never really ended. Dieters really couldn't eat whatever they wanted, because the book said they should only eat organic food and avoid brand name foods, fast food, and meals at chain restaurants.

The FTC has been going after Trudeau for the last 10 years, alleging that his claims in the infomercials are false and misleading. A court order in the original case banned him from making any further false claims and a fine. He was charged in 2003 with violating the order in that case, and has been in trouble ever since.

Trudeau appears to keep engaging in the same behavior over and over. It's obviously netting him millions of dollars in profits, which might be worth it even with the hassle of legal battles. The false claims with the weight loss book are bad enough, but Trudeau is also peddling a book for fixing consumer debt problems. Debt Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About has also been featured on infomercials, and it seems that this court order might bar Trudeau from participating in these too. That wouldn't be bad at all... This isn't the type of guy I want consumers receiving financial advice from.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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