Why are adoring fans giving a standing ovation to a man the U.S. government calls a con artist?
One supporter told INSIDE EDITION, “I have everything he's written, I read it all the time and things are getting better for me.”
They're talking about Kevin Trudeau, the so-called king of TV infomercials. He's made millions selling just about everything from financial advice, medical cures, and weight loss miracles, and he's written a bunch of best-selling books.
But Trudeau owes the government a staggering $37 million in fines because he continued misleading TV viewers in his infomercials.
Now, he claims he's flat broke. He has said, "I am virtually penniless."
And he's begging for donations to pay for his lawyers, telling his fans, "I desperately need your help. I need your help."
So, who would pay a dime to hear what this fraudster has to say? Apparently, lots. At a fundraiser outside Washington, D.C., 150 fans paid at least $1,000 each to hear his pearls of wisdom. The government says his claim of poverty is hooey and he’s actually been living a lavish lifestyle.
ABC News recently caught up with him outside a mansion in Switzerland. He's accused of spending $13,000 a month on rent, buying $12,000 gold cufflinks, hiring personal chefs and getting $180 haircuts.
INSIDE EDITION’s Paul Boyd spoke to the Federal Trade Commission's Jonathan Cowen.
Boyd asked, “You believe Kevin Trudeau hatched an elaborate plan to hide all that money?”
Cowen said, “Mr. Trudeau undertook a series of actions designed to create a false impression of poverty when, in reality, he still controlled very substatial wealth.”
INSIDE EDITION producer Joe Enoch spoke with Trudeau after he made his pitch to the roomful of fans. Enoch asked, “Why are people saying that you hid your assets?”
Trudeau replied, “I don't know.”
Enoch asked, “Did you hide your assets?”
“No,” replied Trudeau.
Enoch then asked, “You don't have any assets in foreign accounts?”
Trudeau said, “Nope.”
The very next day, a federal judge threw Trudeau in jail for contempt for not paying the $37 million fine. But his loyal fans remain dedicated to the king of TV infomercials.
A supporter said, “I just ran up to KT, I’m like here you go, I just wrote him a check as a thank you.”