You mean the guy who hawks “natural cures” on late-night infomercials is a lying sociopath? I’m as shocked as you are.
A federal judge has sided with the Federal Trade Commission in granting a court-appointed receiver broad authority to marshal assets and take over businesses the judge ruled were controlled by controversial TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau, who last month was found in contempt for failing to pay a $37.6 million sanction against him for deceptive marketing.
The contempt finding was the third of Trudeau’s checkered career, which is also dotted with $2.5 million in prior settlements with the FTC over allegedly misleading claims for a host of products he pitched in infomercials. The 50-year-old Massachusetts native’s record also includes two felony fraud convictions from the early 1990’s, for which he spent nearly two years in federal prison.
Among the companies covered by the judge’s ruling is a multi-layered marketing foundation called the Global Information Network, known by the acronym GIN. It is billed as private wealth, health and success building club – boasting of thousands of members in more than 150 countries.
The club was conceived, Trudeau claims, by a secret council of 30 people – including anonymous billionaires, royals, high-level members of secret societies – and Kevin Trudeau. In internet videos, Trudeau pitched GIN as a way for members, who pay $1,000 to join and $150 a month in dues, to acquire secret information heretofore available to only the elite.
The club’s U.S. subsidiary, GIN USA, reported more than $60 million in gross revenue over the past three years, virtually all of which came from payments, purchases and upgrade fees from the club’s own members. It is not clear how much, if any, of that money remains. The receiver will now have to determine if GIN and its affiliated entities should be allowed to continuing to operate or should be shut down and have their assets liquidated.
Trudeau, who declined to answer questions about the latest contempt finding or the appointment of the receiver, has been ordered to surrender his U.S. and Italian passports. He will have to get by on whatever amount of money the receiver determines is sufficient for him to have ordinary and necessary living expenses. For the time being, he will be permitted to continue living in an expansive rental home in suburban Chicago.