For the Internet marketers running for the hills because of the crackdown by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on deceptive marketing practices, the saga of Kevin Trudeau is scarier than that of Perry Belcher. Trudeau made the stupid mistake of telling his cult followers to e-mail the judge handling his case.
The response? Trudeau faces sentencing for criminal contempt, has had to post $50K bail, and surrender his passport. Regardless of how sentencing goes, Kevin Trudeau risks financial ruin. The only question is whether he will be able to hide enough assets from the government.
The cynic in me believes that like a cockroach in an nuclear blast, Trudeau will find a way to survive. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see him find religion and bilk the same gullible people out of money using his new-found belief in the “Secret” or the Great Green Arkleseizure.
Yet you have to wonder how well Trudeau would have done over the long term if he had actually bent the rules but not broken them. What if he had delivered value to clients without lies or misrepresentations? Was the time he already spent in prison worth it? How about the reputation as a fraud and convicted felon?
Some would say that Trudeau’s brushes with the law aren’t relevant to Internet marketing.
Oh really? Note that the FTC guidelines don’t distinguish between online marketing and infomercials.
Hat tip: Mitch Lipka
February 19, 2010 Update – The judge sentenced Trudeau to 30 days in jail for contempt. Trudeau also forfeits his $50,000 bond but will be appealing the judge’s decision. Go figure. It remains to be seen how much Trudeau will be ordered to pay in the underlying lawsuit.
Hat tip: Reuters