Kevin Trudeau

Kevin Mark Trudeau (born February 6, 1963) is a television infomercial spokesperson and convicted felon who grew up in Lynn, Massachusetts, USA. He is the adopted son of Robert (welder) and Mary Trudeau (housewife). He attended St. Mary's High School, where he was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" by the class of 1981.

His news-style infomercials – broadcast frequently on late night TV in North America – have promoted a range of products, including health aids, dietary supplements (like coral calcium), real estate investment strategies, and memory-improvement courses. In some cases, his marketing and business practices have resulted in fines from securities and trade regulators. His latest series of infomercials features his book Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You To Know About (ISBN 0-9755995-0-X). In it he makes claims about the safety and health of our food supply, arguing that diseases such as cancer can be cured with naturopathic remedies. He likewise maintains that the pharmaceutical industry is actively suppressing these cures so they can continue to profit from their patented treatments. After criticism that the book did not contain any natural cures promised in his infomercials - Trudeau claims that he was not able to include them because of threats from the Federal Trade Commission - Trudeau released an updated version of the original book. After the success of the first book and its updated version he published a new book titled More Natural Cures Revealed: Previously Censored Brand Name Products That Cure Disease (ISBN 0-9755995-4-2). According to Kevin Trudeau, the book contains the names of actual brand name products that will cure myriad illnesses.

Critics of Trudeau point to his real criminal history and lack of medical training and warn buyers to be wary of his advice. Nevertheless, Trudeau's commercials have been successful. Natural Cures was listed in September 2005 by the New York Times as the number-one-selling current nonfiction book in the United States for 25 weeks, and has sold more than five million copies.

Trudeau's latest book is The Weight Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You To Know About, which was advertised on infomercials starting in March 2007 and will be available through bookstores on April 30, 2007.

Trudeau's legal problems are long-standing. In 1990, he posed as a doctor in order to deposit $80,000 in false checks, and in 1991 he pled guilty to larceny after he had provided false information to obtain credit cards which he used for his own purposes. He spent two years in prison because of this conviction (Choi, 2005). In Natural Cures, Trudeau claims that he has learned from his experience, and is now motivated to help people (as opposed to making money for himself).

Trudeau rebounded, making a large sum of money working for Nutrition For Life, a multi-level marketing program. However, in 1996, his recruitment practices were cited by the states of Illinois and Michigan, as well as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Michigan forbade him from operating in the state.

In 1998, Trudeau was fined $500,000 to be used for consumer redress by the FTC, relating to six infomercials he had produced and in which the FTC determined he had made false or misleading claims. Trudeau says that this is evidence for his belief that the FTC is in partnership with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and pharmaceutical industries in denying people the right to freedom of health care for the sake of profit at the expense of U.S. citizens.

In June 2003, the FTC filed a complaint in the Northern District of Illinois against Trudeau and some of his companies (Shop America (USA), LLC, Shop America Marketing Group, LLC, and Trustar Global Media, Limited), alleging that disease-related claims for Coral Calcium Supreme were false and unsubstantiated. In July 2003, Trudeau entered into a stipulated preliminary injunction that prohibited him from continuing to make the challenged claims for Coral Calcium Supreme and Biotape.

In the summer of 2004, the court found Trudeau in contempt of court for violating the preliminary injunction, because he had sent out a direct mail piece and done an infomercial making prohibited claims. The court ordered Trudeau to cease all marketing for coral calcium products.

In September 2004, Trudeau agreed to pay $2 million ($500,000 in cash plus transfer of residential property located in Ojai, California, and a luxury vehicle) to settle charges that he falsely claimed that a coral calcium product can cure cancer and other serious diseases and that a purported analgesic called Biotape can permanently cure or relieve severe pain.

On February 28, 2005, Trudeau filed a complaint against the FTC in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Trudeau also filed a motion for preliminary injunction, which the court denied.

The complaint charged that the FTC had retaliated against him for his criticism of the agency by issuing a press release that falsely characterized and intentionally and deliberately misrepresented the 2004 Final Order. That conduct, Trudeau asserted, exceeded the FTC’s authority under 15 U.S.C. § 46(f) and violated the First Amendment. The Federal Trade Commission responded with a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), and for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted under Rule 12(b)(6).

The district court granted the FTC’s motion to dismiss. First, the court concluded that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because the press release was not “a ‘final agency action’” under “section 704 of the [Administrative Procedure Act]”, 5 U.S.C. § 704. Second, the court held, “in the alternative, that Trudeau’s claims failed to state a viable cause of action as a matter of law.”

Trudeau later filed an appeal which resulted in the unsuccessful attempt to reverse the previous court's ruling.

Trudeau begins his book, Natural Cures “They” Don't Want You To Know About, with a personal story. It says that at the age of 21, he discovered he had a mitral valve defect in his heart, and that this was an incurable debilitating condition according to established medicine. He writes that his life was saved by a live cell injection procedure, which he underwent in Mexico because it was banned in the United States. The story has been criticized by consumer watchdog groups and medical doctors as being inconsistent. The symptoms of the condition he names (mitral valve prolapse) are generally surreptitious. Consumer groups and doctors say the treatment he describes could not have altered the structure of his heart.

Trudeau says in his book that the Food and Drug Administration is actively banning all-natural cures so that consumers are forced to buy drugs and therefore support the drug industry. He also says that there are all-natural cures for serious ailments such as cancer, attention deficit disorder, arthritis, acid reflux disease, herpes, and many other diseases.

Trudeau has no medical training or expertise, although he says that this fact makes him the most qualified to make these claims, as he is not a part of the pharmaceutical industry, American Medical Association, or FDA. In Trudeau's book, studies are referenced, but they can be seen by readers as being vague. He says that they are his opinion, but also emphasizes that there are no such thing as medical facts.

A repeated criticism of the book, particularly the first edition, is that there are few treatment plans for any illnesses within its pages. Trudeau himself acknowledges that "if you are looking for a particular cure for a particular disease, you are missing the point to this book." He says that people have been "brainwashed" by the drug industry to think that a cure is a chemical compound which, when ingested, causes disease to simply disappear; according to Trudeau, this form of cure does not exist and never will. Instead, the cures he promotes are actually "lifestyle changes" which "help the body to heal itself."

He says that almost all diseases are caused by either nutritional deficiencies, toxins in the body (such as pesticide, herbicides, artificial colors from food, sweeteners, and preservatives, or fluoride and chlorine in conventional tap water), electromagnetic chaos (“I've been able to cure men of infertility by having them stop using laptop computers”), or stress; this weakens the body, making one vulnerable to infection and disease. Treating the causes will result in eliminating the disease. For example, he advocates organic homemade juice fasts for the purpose of getting nutritional benefits without ingesting the chemical additives found in conventional processed food.

One of his suggestions for losing weight is to have 15 colonics over a span of 30 days. On his first infomercial advertising his book, Trudeau gave out his medical opinions, such as the idea that if one's body's pH is alkaline, one will virtually never get sick. He also says that, through his research, all cancer patients he has observed have an acidic body.

Critics have disputed this statement, asserting that one's body can be neither basic nor acidic as blood pH is essentially neutral, tending to slightly alkaline, with a normal pH range of between 7.35 and 7.45; and any significant deviation from that could result in serious illness or death (acidosis or alkalosis).

On one of his latest infomercials, Trudeau offers a companion CD, Lose 30 Pounds in 30 Days — The Weight Loss Secret "They" Don't Want You to Know About, the title of which Trudeau says has been "censored by the FTC". Trudeau earlier promoted a version of this book on a CD with the title covered in an effort to establish his claims of censorship.

In Natural Cures, Trudeau recommends practicing Scientology/Dianetics to live a healthier lifestyle. It is uncertain whether he is a Scientologist himself. It is possible that he mentions Scientology as an alternative to psychologists/psychiatrists due to their practice, in his opinion, of merely prescribing a drug that suppresses the symptoms rather than treating the cause.

Trudeau has been interviewed by CNN's Paula Zahn, NBC's Today Show, and CBS's The Early Show. Trudeau was also interviewed for investigative reports on Inside Edition and ABC's 20/20.

During interviews, Trudeau has often said that the television program in which he is being interviewed is “owned” by the drug companies. This frequently happens when a statement by Trudeau is refuted as being untrue, such as his statements that the FTC could find no wrong-doing in any case brought against him. In some cases Trudeau has told his supporters, via his newsletters, that he has been “attacked” on a particular program or by a particular interviewer.

He says that he has been offered taped interviews, which he refused. When he requested a live interview, no live interview was granted. On another occasion, he relates that a "Good Morning America" television crew arrived early in the morning while he was asleep. He says that they started shouting accusations at him and — as he was not showered, fed, or dressed — he could not come out and answer. According to Trudeau, he had to call the police to have them removed from his property. The television crew then aired the footage, claiming he denied them an interview.

In August 2005, the drug store chain Walgreens pulled the book from its shelves, but the book continues to be sold at Sam's Club and elsewhere. Millions of copies have already been sold through retailers Barnes & Noble, Costco, and Wal-Mart.

In May of 2006, Trudeau published a less-publicized book, More Natural Cures Revealed: Previously Censored Brand Name Products That Cure Disease (Alliance Publishing).

After the Federal Trade Commission's ban on Trudeau (applying to almost everything except publications) went into effect, Trudeau went into the publishing business. The FTC concluded that prohibiting him from selling publications would infringe upon his First Amendment rights. All of his recent infomercials advertise his book, Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You To Know About, and he has a minimum of five different versions of this infomercial that have aired in 2004 and 2005. One notable co-host was Tammy Faye.

Trudeau argues that pharmaceutical companies --"don't want us to get well" because, if all diseases were cured, these companies would be out of business. He has not named specific pharmaceutical companies when making these statements. According to Trudeau, pharmaceutical companies are oriented towards profit, and have no interest in helping their consumers. He states in one infomercial that there are twelve known cures for cancer, but that they are being kept from the general public by the FDA, the FTC, and the pharmaceutical companies. He also says that the FDA and the FTC are two of the most corrupt organizations in America, and that there is a long list of chemical ingredients that are secretly not required to be on the FDA ingredients label which are damaging to human health.

Trudeau also offers a conspiracy theory, claiming that the drug industry and the FDA work with each other to deceive the public by banning all-natural cures to protect the profits of the drug industry. In addition, Trudeau says that FDA commissioners who leave the FDA to work for large drug companies are paid millions of dollars. In any other industry, according to Trudeau, this would be called "bribery", a "conflict of interest" or "payoffs." Trudeau also says in his infomercials that the food industry is including chemicals (such as MSG) to get people "addicted to food" and to "make people obese," so that the pharmaceutical companies can make more profit. Trudeau also believes prescription drugs should be advertised to doctors, not the general public. He frequently cites the number of advertisements on television for prescription drugs.

Trudeau says that affordable natural treatments cannot be patented, and are not profitable enough to justify spending hundreds of millions of dollars in testing, resulting in a lack of FDA approval. Trudeau uses herpes as an example, saying that people with herpes must buy an expensive drug for the rest of their lives. He says that if there were a cheap, easy cure for herpes, the FDA and pharmaceutical companies would not want the population to know about it, because profits would no longer be made.

One of the major complaints about Trudeau's infomercials is that he makes only vague references to scientific studies, making them impossible to cross-check for accuracy. The same criticism exists for the anecdotal evidence he presents in the infomercials. He does not mention names of people who have been cured by his methods. For example, he tells a story in an infomercial about "a friend from England" who came to his house and complained of heartburn. He also references a study done on the antidepressant qualities of St. John's Wort compared to two prescription medications. He claims that the media reported St. John's Wort was "proven ineffective in study", but critics say that none of the medicines tested were effective at combating depression.

Critics say that by not referencing studies to substantiate claims, Trudeau gets into a conflict with the FTC. The infomercials suggest that these subjects will be addressed further in the book, but critics don't believe this. Readers of his book are often referred to his website to find Trudeau's suggested natural cures, where a fee must be paid for its use.

An Associated Press article by Candice Choi on the infomercials elaborates on the success and problems of the programs. Choi says that by repeatedly mentioning government sanctions against him, Trudeau "anticipated any backlash with his cuckoo conspiracy theory" and can partially deflect any criticism of him or his infomercials. Trudeau's use of the word "cure" is an issue for regulators, also bookstores are polled on their decisions to sell or not sell a successful and controversial self-published book.

One common criticism by consumer groups is that Trudeau has had no medical training. Trudeau responds that by not having such, he is not biased towards pharmaceutical companies and the FDA, and that medical doctors "are taught only how to write out prescriptions" for "poisons" and "cut out pieces of a person's anatomy."

Another criticism is that Trudeau's claims are usually not backed by research, and that much of his information is an overpriced repackaging of preexisting natural cure remedies. For example, "A Complete Handbook of Nature Cure" is a widely available PDF book with natural treatments that claim to cure a range of ailments. Trudeau himself acknowledges that the "cures" are not his; he did not invent them or discover them, but merely believes in them and uses them.

Trudeau has also been criticized for his inability to provide substantial evidence to back up many of his claims. Although he provides anecdotal evidence, he has not provided evidence that such customer claims have been evaluated by a licensed medical practitioner. As such, any claims made by Trudeau or his supporters that his book or other business endeavours have helped people cannot be verified and are based solely on testimonials. In instances where Trudeau has been asked to provide proof of his claims, he has misinterpreted medical studies or cited dubious or fictitious studies. This includes, but is not limited to, a nonexistent 25 year research study involving a natural cure for diabetes at the University of Calgary.

In August 2005, the New York Consumer Protection Board warned consumers that Trudeau has used false claims of endorsements to promote his products, noting that the back cover of Natural Cures includes false endorsements. Further, the NYCPB states that Trudeau's television ads “give the false impression that Tammy Faye opposes chemotherapy in favor of the ‘natural cures’ in Trudeau’s book.” A representative for Tammy Faye said that is not true and that she is starting chemotherapy again.

The back cover includes the following quote from Dr. Herbert Ley, a former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration who died three years before the book was written: “The thing that bugs me is that people think the FDA is protecting them. It isn't. What the FDA is doing and what people think it's doing are as different as night and day.” Trudeau says that this quote does not constitute a false endorsement of his book by Ley, but rather, is merely a statement that is in line with the purport of his book.

Trudeau adapted techniques used to improve the memory of the blind and the mentally challenged to create Advanced Mega Memory and Mega Memory audio tapes. He also founded the American Memory Institute. His promotion of memory-enhancing products was put to an end by an FTC crackdown, which determined that the programs involved would not enable users to achieve a photographic memory, as the advertising claimed.

In addition to Natural Cures, Trudeau also hosted an infomercial that features the "Perfect Lift" non-surgical face lift. In England, this infomercial was found to violate the ITC advertising rules.

On September 11, 2006, Donald Barrett and ITV Direct announced that they had partnered with Trudeau to market both of his "Natural Cures" books. Trudeau also worked with ITV to create ITV Ventures, a new MLM group based out of ITV's home office.[16] As of December 2006, ITV Direct has pulled all information concerning both this partnership and Trudeau's books from its corporate website; however the infomercials have continued to run as of March 2007.

Trudeau founded the International Pool Tour (IPT), with some of the largest purses and prizes given out in billiards. This has attracted the interest of some of the top pool players in world. It also sets itself apart from the many 9-Ball tournaments as all IPT events are 8-Ball games with very strict rules.

In October 2006, the IPT was criticized by some of the winners for failing to timely disburse about $3 million in prize funds to tournament competitors. Thorsten Hohmann, a $350,000 IPT winner from a July 2006 event said, "I'm the one who can leave with a smile, but it's just not right what [Trudeau] has done - all the lies." The IPT originally announced that they were only going to pay out one-third of the winnings at that time, but in November they announced that they will pay out the $3 million in monthly installments instead, which have been two payments of about $38,000 each as of December 20th. Due to this and other factors, all IPT events have been postponed by a few months, though no specific dates have been set yet.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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