Tag Archives: FTC

FTC wants to start handing out refunds for Kevin Trudeau’s diet book

(CHICAGO) More than $30 million may be missing from Kevin Trudeau’s empire.

But a firm tasked by a federal judge with tracking down the TV pitchman’s fortune put its hands on more than $8 million.

Now the Federal Trade Commission wants to use it to start refunding customers duped into buying Trudeau’s diet book by its “grossly deceptive marketing,” the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting. Jonathan Cohen, an attorney for the FTC’s enforcement division, said the $8 million belongs to the consumers.

“The court ordered that Trudeau repay consumers,” Cohen said. “He didn’t do it. But the money always belonged to consumers.”

Robb Evans & Associates LLC recently filed a long-awaited analysis of Trudeau’s finances, finding the infomercial king’s vast business empire collected more than a half-billion dollars in revenue between 1999 and 2013. Trudeau cried poor in the face of a $37.6 million fine, but Robb Evans said it couldn’t figure out what happened to $30.6 million generated by Trudeau-linked companies.

Trudeau attorney Kimball Anderson declined to comment on the report earlier this week. But the lawyer opposed Robb Evans & Associates’ request for payment in court Thursday, arguing the firm “found no evidence of any fraudulent transfer of assets despite capturing the entire universe of Trudeau entity records and subpoenaing every imaginable bank credit card company and vendor.”

FTC lawyers will seek permission July 21 from U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman to begin refunding customers. In a motion filed Thursday, they indicated the refunds could arrive in multiple distributions, and it’s “reasonable” for consumers to expect $11 total from the first two.

But several variables are at play, including whether the judge will approve the plan. Cohen said the refund amounts could also depend on the number of consumers the FTC can track down and the percentage who actually cash their checks.

The FTC laid out in its motion plans to track down consumers who bought Trudeau’s book as well as how to engage in “consumer-friendly communications using plain language to explain the process.”

More than 820,000 people bought Trudeau’s book, according to the FTC.

— Chicago Sun-Times

TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau picking a fight with receiver over taxes

(CHICAGO) TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau claims he is being put in a “trick box” and is picking a fight with the receiver a federal judge put in charge of his assets nearly two years ago, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Trudeau, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison last year after a contempt conviction, complained through his attorneys in court papers last month that the receiver had not filed tax returns for Trudeau, his wife or 19 of Trudeau’s purported businesses.

The receiver countered that Trudeau had refused to turn over control of those businesses, claiming “he either lacked control over them or the entities were empty shells with nothing to turn over.” Rather, the receiver pointed to claims that they were part of a scheme to put Trudeau’s assets beyond the reach of the Federal Trade Commission.

But Tuesday, Trudeau’s attorneys said the receiver had complete access to his records for nearly two years.

“By now, it is too late for the receiver to complain about its apparent inability to do its job,” they wrote. “The bottom line is the receiver has failed to identify any specific Trudeau assets that have not been turned over to the receiver.”

They said Trudeau is faced with the choice to either violate his legal obligation to pay taxes or violate a court order preventing him from personally paying money to the IRS.

The squabble is expected to spill into U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman’s courtroom May 21.

Prosecutors have accused the self-improvement guru of brazenly defying Chicago’s federal courts for more than a decade. As he handed down Trudeau’s 10-year sentence in March 2014, U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman called Trudeau “deceitful to the very core.” He pointed to a litany of previous fraud and contempt charges and convictions cited by prosecutors.

But Trudeau said at the time he’d undergone a “personal transformation.”

“I have been stripped of all ego, arrogance, defiance and pride and for this I am very thankful, as it has made me a better person,” Trudeau said.

— Chicago Sun-Times