Top TV Pitchmen Dead or in Prison
You have to be blind and deaf if you’ve never seen or heard of Don LaPre, Kevin Trudeau, Billy Mays and Ed McMahon. All top TV pitchmen are dead or in Prison.
One of the best most seen man on TV in the 90’s is Don Lapre. His claim ot fame is; “I placed tiny classified ads and lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment.” Although Don never graduated from high school he became a self-made millionaire all from the sale of products on TV.
The “King of Infomercials” Don Lapre, the high-energy TV ads for moneymaking kits and products.
Married with two daughters, the charismatic pitchman’s website boasts about his “3 best friends :-)” – his two daughters and wife of 23 years – and seemed to be enjoying a booming business, his infomercials so familiar they were parodied by David Letterman and Saturday Night Live.
Lapre had several “how to make money online” products and sold to the home based business audiences.
But in June it all came crashing down. Lapre was charged with 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and promotional money laundering. Arrested and indicted, he allegedly scammed more than $50 million from at least 220,000 people between 2004 and 2007.
Then on Oct. 2, two days before he was stand trial on charges that could have sent him to federal prison for 25 years, Lapre was found dead in his Arizona jail cell of an apparent suicide. It’s said he sliced his own throat and bled to death in his jail cell.
Kevin Trudeau is another rags to rich story. He became an infomercial sensation almost overnight. He was seen by millions of people all over the country. He owned expensive cars, jets and smoked $50 cigars. He was on top of the world.
Trudeau is sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“Since his 20s, he has steadfastly attempted to cheat others for his own gain,” Guzman said, adding that Trudeau is “deceitful to the very core.”
Trudeau was also heavily involved in making money online and providing kits for how to make money and opportunities.
Jurors convicted Trudeau of criminal contempt in November for defying a 2004 court order barring him from running false ads about the weight-loss book. Despite the order, he aired the infomercials at least 32,000 times, according to prosecutors.
He sold more than 850,000 copies of the weight-loss book, generating $39 million in revenue, prosecutors say. And the judge agreed with prosecutors that the amount of loss stemming from Trudeau’s deception was more than $37 million — nearly the amount in revenue.
But in remarks Monday asking for a sentence of less than two years for his client, defense attorney Tom Kirsch said the harm Trudeau caused was minor compared to fraud in which some people are cheated out of their life savings.
But Guzman showed little sympathy, appearing angry as he said that Trudeau had thumbed his nose at the justice system by violating multiple court orders since the 1990s.
Trudeau became rich selling millions of books with titles such as “Natural Cures ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About” and “Debt Cures ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About,” touting them in commercials with a news-interview formats.
His weight-loss book, which once topped best-seller lists, was the focus of the criminal conviction for which he was sentenced. It also was the subject of related civil case brought by the Federal Trade Commission, in which Trudeau was ordered to pay a $37 million judgment.
In that civil case, Trudeau said he couldn’t pay the judgment because he’s broke. But FTC lawyers balked at that claim, accusing him of hiding money in shell companies. Trudeau, they noted, has spent lavishly in recent years, including $359 on two haircuts.
Meanwhile . . . Trudeau sits in prison.
Billy Mays one of the best professional pitchmen in the business died of a heat attack brought about by a cocaine over-dose. Some say he died an accidental bang of the head, but most professionals say that cocaine played a big part in his death.
William Darrell “Billy” Mays, Jr. (July 20, 1958 – June 28, 2009)was an American television pitchman most notable for promoting Fix-it, Oxiclean, Orange Glo, Kaboom, and other cleaning, home-based, and maintenance products on the Home Shopping Network, and through his company, Mays Promotions, Inc.
He and his business partner, Anthony Sullivan, were also featured on PitchMen, a TV series that documented their work. His distinctive beard and impassioned sales pitches made him a recognized television presence in the United States andCanada.
The great Ed McMahon died bankrupt and broke. After serving Johnny Carson for over 30 years, the great pitch man asked Johnny Carson for financial assistance, but he refused. The bank was about to foreclose on his big house and leave him and his wife homeless, but Donald Trump heard of his unfortunate situation and purchased the house and told Ed McMahan he could live there for as long as wanted. Ed died broke through a series of bad investments and some speculate that family members may have played a role in the loss of his wealth.
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