DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Crime

Would You Buy A Used Cure From This Man?

Crimes and clowns: A look at pitchman Kevin Trudeau's shady past

Kevin Trudeau

View Document

Would You Buy A Used Cure From This Man?

AUGUST 26--When we first heard about this fellow Kevin Trudeau--best-selling author of 'Natural Cures,' infomercial king, and scourge of the Federal Trade Commission--one line from his resume jumped out at us.

And that would be his federal felony conviction, a collar he considers a youthful indiscretion, though he was 28 when he copped an April 1991 plea to two counts of credit card fraud. Trudeau's indictment, a copy of which you'll find here, was filed in Massachusetts and charged him with using 'unauthorized access devices' to defraud American Express out of $122,735.68 (he also swindled about five grand from several banks, including Chemical and Citibank). Over five years, Trudeau, now 42, used false names and social security numbers to secure charge cards which he then ferociously milked.

Prior to Trudeau's sentencing, his lawyer provided the judge with an entertaining psychiatric report that recommended a probation term, not jail, for Trudeau. According to Dr. Daniel Schwartz, Trudeau had been chasing money since his boyhood, when he delivered newspapers, shoveled snow, and eventually became a 'professional magician.' Not surprisingly, he would also excel as a car salesman.

Trudeau, Schwartz noted, had a prior grand larceny rap and seemed obsessed with money, feeling 'compelled to spend everything he earned and live like a king.' Saddled with an 'inner psychological turmoil' that apparently stemmed from being put up for adoption, 'Trudeau's drive to succeed has been so intense that it has on numerous occasions impaired his judgment,' reported Schwartz. As for his diagnosis, Schwartz concluded that Trudeau had a 'mixed personality disorder' and 'an adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct.'

Along with the Schwartz missive, Trudeau's counsel also submitted a letter from Trudeau's mother to Judge Edward Harrington. Mary Trudeau noted that her boy was a prince who was 'president of the Junior Clowns of America,' a post from which he 'helped and guided children interested in clowning.' Despite that commendable work, Trudeau was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to make restitution on his credit card schemes. After serving 21 months in Uncle Sam's custody, Trudeau was released in August 1993 and placed on two years probation. (12 pages)

Comments (1)

Not to be picky but he could not have copped to the crime in 1991 at the age of 28 and be 42 years old today. If he was 28 in 91 then he should be 47 now. He might be selling the idea that he is only 42 but like most everything he tries to sell it will be a lie or a con.