Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Unnatural Deaths “He” doesn’t want you to know about

Or Persnickety Dipstick’s Series of Idiotic Events

If you can’t follow sarcasm in a written form, you are going to have problems reading this. ;)

I saw an infomercial the other day regarding lowering your debt which I thought was misleading and oversimplified financial topics. So I decided to sick The Daily Skinny on him. Let's talk about his legal issues, and then briefly look at some of his products.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is continuously suing Kevin Trudeau for various forms of deception and fraud. A court order currently restricts his ability to promote and sell any product or service (Kevin is the victim here); however, he is permitted to promote books and other publications due to free-speech protection under the First Amendment. But he's not allowed to promote or sell products or services. That is how much the FTC trusts Kevin Trudeau. It is clear to me that I must trust him also.

1990
Kevin posed as a doctor, so he could get away with depositing $80,000 in false checks. Trudeau was convicted of fraud and larceny.

1991
Kevin gathered the credit card numbers of people who bought his product "Mega Memory". He used these numbers to make $122,735.68 in fraudulent charges. He told the court that the charges weren’t fraudulent, but were created by a series of math errors. Kev was convicted and did two years in the pokie for it. Of course he claims he is a changed man, blah blah blah… wants to help people blah blah blah. But don’t worry. His legal problems continue. (I don’t know why that cheers me up.)

1996
While he was in jail, Kevin met Jules Leib. Jules (I call him Julie) was a cocaine dealer (he was also innocent ;) ). They started an illegal pyramid scheme and called the company “Nutrition for Life”. In 1996, both men were sued by 8 different states, and the Securities & Exchange Commission. Trudeau settled out of court and agreed to change the functioning of the company. Unfortunately, Kevin only knew a few kinds of shapes and pyramids were his favorite. The State of Michigan was so ticked that they banned him from doing any business in their state. (I LOVE Michigan!)

1997
Some of the stockholders of Nutrition for Life sued Kevin for misrepresenting and omitting important information about Nutrition for Life’s business. (So much for him turning over a new leaf.) Kevin’s little business was found guilty and had to pay 2 million dollars to the individuals involved in the lawsuit. He was also ordered to pay their $600,000 in legal costs.

1998
Kevin made a bunch of infomercials for “Mega Memory System,” “Addiction Breaking System,” “Action Reading,” “Eden's Secret,” “Mega Reading”… and my personal favorite, “Hair Farming” (I don’t even know what to say to that.) His Hair farming was so amazing that he said it would cure baldness for all of the human race. In a surprising let down, there is still baldness 11 years later. His addiction breaking program claimed it could eliminate addictions in 60 seconds. (I think it involved some kind of coma, but I couldn’t say for sure). Incidentally, like many crackpots, he uses a lot of terms like “quantum physics” which he knows nothing about. Most of the time the word “quantum” is involved, it is a scam. Write it down. The Federal Trade Commission sued him for false advertising; Kevin was found guilty and fined $500,000.

2003
The FTC filed a complaint against Kevin (and a bunch of his companies) stating that disease-related claims for his “Coral Calcium Supreme” and “Biotape” were false and unsubstantiated. To save some time and money, Kevin signed a stipulation that this was true, and he promised to stop making fraudulent claims about his products. I also heard that the FTC prepared a motion to stop Kevin from tucking his shirt into his underpants. I guess they never filed it though.

Summer 2004
Kevin is found in contempt of court for violating the agreement he signed the previous year, by continuing to claim “Coral Calcium” cures cancer and a host of other illnesses. To protect the public, Kevin is ordered to cease all marketing for “Coral Calcium” products.

Fall 2004
Unfortunately, Kevin couldn’t keep his mouth shut very long, and was sued by a customer for his claims related to “Coral Calcium” curing cancer, and “Biotape” curing severe pain. He settled the suit by paying $2 million, and the court banned him from making infomercials. Unfortunately, Kevin got them to make an exception for infomercials which promote books. Kevin is the MacGuyver of the criminal world, I swear.

2005
Kevin realizes that it is pretty hard to rip off innocent people when you can’t make false claims or misleading infomercials. Not only that, but check fraud is treated very seriously by this point, so he can’t go back to his roots. (How is the poor guy supposed to make a living?) Instead of getting some real skills and making an honest living, Kevin sued the FTC seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. He claimed that the rulings against him were punishment because he had been critical of the FTC, and they had therefore violated his first amendment rights. The FTC filed a motion to dismiss using really crazy legal terms that I don’t understand. The gist of it seemed to be that his lawsuit was stupid. The court agreed and dismissed the case. Kevin appealed. Kevin was denied. (Ha ha sucka!)

August 2005
Still ticked from getting spanked by the FTC and the courts, he sued the New York State Consumer Protection Board for a lot of money. The NYCPB had used television stations to warn consumers that Kevin had been making fraudulent claims regarding the book. (How do they sleep at night?) In addition, his ad gave the false impression that Tammy Faye Messner opposes chemotherapy in favor of the ‘natural cures’ in Trudeau’s book. This not true, but why should Kevin care about that? He claimed the actions of the NYCPB violated his First Amendment rights. He won a temporary restraining order while the court looked into it. Kevin also filed a motion to have the NYCPB send a letter of “correction” to TV stations, but the court denied this request. Kevin’s case of victim-hood wasn’t looking so good when it was discovered that the back cover of the book itself is fraudulent. It has a quote from Dr. Herbert Ley, a former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The problem is that he died three years before the book was written and was most likely not available for comment on the book. Kevin has since dropped all his claims for monetary damages, although he is still pursuing the case.

November 2007
Trudeau was found in contempt of a court order for making "patently false" claims about his book The Weight Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You to Know About.

August 2008
Kevin was fined more than $37 million and banned from infomercials for three years, because of continuing (how dumb is he?) to make fraudulent claims about The Weight Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You to Know About. Kevin appealed, and the court denied his appeal. Rumor has it that Kevin’s lawyer is writing a book, “Legal Strategies and other skills I learned from a Bathroom Reader”.

Natural Cures?
In his book, Trudeau claims that there are “all-natural” cures for cancer, arthritis, AIDS, acid reflux disease, obesity, multiple sclerosis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, and ADD. Naturally he claims that the FDA and the FTC want to hide these cures from you. He seems to ignore the fact that there are companies researching this stuff ALL OVER THE WORLD in places where the FDA has no influence. Which is more likely?

1. A big organization with lots of red tape periodically makes mistakes, or
2. The thousands of employees of the FDA are in collusion to withhold effective treatments from the ill and never talk about the cures they hide even though their own family members are dying from these same diseases…

Trudeau says that natural treatments cannot be patented and are not profitable enough to justify spending hundreds of millions of dollars in testing, so they will always lack FDA approval. He forgets that sometimes selling a million really cheap drugs can be more profitable than selling thousands of expensive ones. In many cases, the FDA is not pursuing the “cures” because controlled studies have shown that some “cures” do NOTHING. For example, St John’s Wort is believed by some to be a “natural cure” for depression. However, studies done by real scientists (not by naturopaths etc) have shown it has no more effect on depression than a placebo.

When people on his program started getting sick and going to the ER, Kevin said that it only proved that he was right. (What?!) He stated that their health problems were due to withdrawals from the toxins in the medications they had previously been taking. (This is so dumb my brain hurts...)

Kevin makes all sorts of allegations about bribes, threats and other illegal actions by the FDA but provides no evidence of anything. (That’s how he rolls.) The NYCPB also found evidence that when people call Kevin’s number for information about the book, he is selling their information to telemarketers without their consent. Some individuals have also accused him of making unauthorized charges to their credit cards.

Weight Loss?

In April 2007, Trudeau released The Weight Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You to Know About.
Trudeau claims that the weight loss plan outlined in the book is easy, can be done at home, and readers can eat anything they want. He does not mention that the plan requires intense dieting, daily injections of a prescribed drug that is not easily obtainable (human chorionic gonadotropin), and lifelong dietary restrictions. It also requires switching to all organic foods, and repeated cleansings of the colon and liver. (Ugh) Other recommended activities include walking an hour a day or more and doing breathing exercises.

The Journal of the American Medical Association has already warned against this diet, as it is unsafe. In fact, the FTC has ordered clinics and promoters of the diet and hCG to cease making false claims about the effectiveness of hCG. Even though they claim it is safe, it is NOT approved by the FDA for weight loss. Clinical research trials published by the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have shown that hCG is ineffective as a weight-loss aid.

Kevin claims that the program in his book turns off the hypothalamus gland, thereby suppressing hunger. (Does shutting off parts of the body sound good to you?) He then claims that once your appetite is suppressed, your metabolism will skyrocket, allowing you to eat meals such as prime rib, pasta, and hot fudge sundaes. This of course ignores the fact these foods are unhealthy not just because they make you fat, but because they contribute to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diverticulitis, and many other problems. But don’t worry! Kevin has his coral calcium to sell you when you get sick.

Kevin has promoted Robert Barefoot in an infomercial touting the value of coral calcium. They falsely claimed that a study on calcium showed that coral calcium had cured many cases of terminal cancer. Trudeau and Barefoot (AKA Barefoot Bobby) claim that coral calcium and alkaline water can neutralize blood acidity (which according to them causes cancer). This is not just false, but dumb.

Let’s ignore the idiocy that the ph of your body causes cancer, and discuss something less obvious. It makes no difference whether the foods you eat are acidic or alkaline – YOU WILL NEVER CHANGE THE ACIDITY of anything in your body except your urine (yeah, urine!). The hydrochloric acid in your stomach is so strong that nothing is going to change its acidity. If you were to place a drop of stomach acid on a piece of wood, it would eat right through it. Citrus fruits, vinegar, and vitamins like ascorbic acid or folic acid DO NOT change the acidity of your stomach or your bloodstream. In fact, if you took an entire bottle of calcium pills or antacids, the acidity of your stomach wouldn’t change for more than a few minutes. (Not to mention that you will have constipation so bad it would kill a rhino.)

Clearly Kevin and Barefoot Bobby don't know how the digestive system works. All foods that leave your stomach are acidic. This should be obvious. Your food has been soaking in a bag of acid. Then the food enters your intestines where pancreas releases stuff to neutralize the stomach acids. So no matter what you eat, the food in the stomach is acidic and the food in the intestines is alkaline. If you are an exception to this, then you are majorly broken and should not be taking medical advice from a convicted felon who has never been to medical school. You can’t change the acidity of any part of your body except your urine. Your bloodstream and organs control acidity within a very narrow range. Anything that really changed acidity in your body would make you very sick and might even kill you.

Let us sum up: Kevin has had NO medical training. NONE. Kevie responds that by not having such training, he is not biased. (This is so stupid I almost passed out). Here is my favorite part. Kevin sums up all of modern medicine by saying that medical doctors “are taught only how to write out prescriptions for poisons” and to “cut out pieces of a person's anatomy.” (Gaah! Must not kill person spouting idiotic vomit... Must not strangling him... Count to ten... Count to ten... Count to ten...)

Mega Memory?
This program was so fraudulent, and deceptive that an FTC crackdown shut down Kevin’s operations. He can no longer sell this product in any form. He is a criminal, he has no medical training, provides no scientific evidence for his claims, makes off-the-wall accusations about electromagnetic waves and other things he does not understand. He has been caught making up studies, and misinterpreting studies done by real scholars.

Perhaps is biggest fault is convincing people with conditions like cancer, to stop their treatments in order to skip through the fields of delusion with him and Barefoot Bobby. Kevin Trudeau's treatments are not famous because they don't work. Science has proven this. And if you want to pick a fight with science, you'd better come with some good evidence.

I could have gone on much much longer, but for your sake I tried to limit the length. Look forward to upcoming Daily Skinny articles on "Ouija Boards" and "Alien Hand's".

27 comments:

HCG Diet said...

I did the weight loss cure protocol and it changed my life. I'm not perfectly fit and happy for it.

Sorry, just the truth.

Paul

JG said...

Paul,

I am glad it helped you; being the right weight is a tough fight. There's no denying that. I'm just saying that is a scary way to lose weight when the FDA shows it may be unsafe and the guy walking you through it has no medical training.

1976grad said...

After reading the description of the diet, all I can say is, skip the dangerous hormonal injections and what are you left with?

Eat less, exercise more. I am an MD but it doesn't take one to know that this is an age old "formula" for losing weight.

Keep up the good work on The Daily Skinny.

It is so refreshing to read it. :)

--Danielle

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