If schadenfreude made a noise, then you’d be hearing it pretty loudly from me right now: Kevin Trudeau — a convicted credit card fraud, and a man who made tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars by telling people he could cure their cancer using, get this, coral calcium — has lost his appeal to the federal court, and must pay $37.6 million dollars in fines.
Trudeau, who shilled this false cancer cure as a diet supplement, was ordered by a federal judge in 2008 to stop making and airing infomercials about it. I wrote about this at the time, but I kept seeing those evil infomercials on TV. I wondered about this, but now I understand: Trudeau was trying to sidestep the order by selling books about this false cure, not the supplements directly. And, he kept buying up those ad spots while appealing the order. But on November 29th of this year, the appeals court said "nope".
The protections, unfortunately, were too weak: Trudeau aired infomercials in violation of the order at least 32,000 times. He should not now be surprised that he must pay for the loss he caused. At a minimum, it was easily within the district court’s discretion to conclude that he should. And $37.6 million correctly measures the loss. The figure is conservative — it only considers sales from the 800-number, not sales in bookstores carrying his "As Seen on TV" titles…
Wow, so he only violated a court order 32,000 times. But wait, there’s more! Apparently, there’s not a lot of real info in those books; they just funnel people to a web site urging them to spend hundreds of dollars for the products he sells. So how much money do you think he really made?
The court also instituted a $2 million bond in case he tries to make more infomercials. It doesn’t stop him from placing ads or writing books, just from bilking people using those long-form late night infomercials: