A Big Wrist-Slap PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Well, at least it's something. Huckster Kevin Trudeau, who claimed his books could cause significant weight loss, cure addictions to heroin, alcohol, and cigarettes, and enable users to achieve a photographic memory, has been banned from being involved in "infomercials" for three years, and ordered to pay more than five million dollars for making false claims. See this Swift article from 2007.. Mind you, Trudeau has made that amount of money many, many, times over, so this is just a slight hitch in his operation - a nuisance. Look for Trudeau-coached operators appearing on TV to continue selling the same woo-woo, as Kevin enjoys the Riviera in luxury, while banking the proceeds.

The judge who sentenced Trudeau said that he had a "history of deception and contemptuous violation of court orders," and his "willful efforts to deceive consumers" into believing that his weight-loss book contained material that it did not, justified the court's ruling that found him in contempt.

The FTC had filed its first lawsuit against Trudeau in 1998, charging him with making false and misleading claims in infomercials, At that time, a stipulated court order resolving the case barred Trudeau from making false claims for products in the future, ordered him to pay $500,000 in consumer redress, and established a $500,000 performance bond to ensure compliance. Then in 2003, the Commission charged Trudeau with violating the 1998 order by falsely claiming that a product, "Coral Calcium Supreme," could cure cancer. The court issued an injunction that ordered him not to make such claims, but when he continued to make cancer-cure claims about this spurious product, he was found in contempt of that injunction.

In 2004, Trudeau agreed was directed to pay $2 million in consumer redress on the Coral Calcium Supreme matter, and was banned from making and appearing in infomercials, except for infomercials for publications such as books, though I don't recall any reduction in his infomercial appearances, at all.

See this notice from the FTC for the whole story.