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Old 10-03-2011, 11:11 AM  
mohel
 
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Keizer, OR
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Nothing like some good news first thing on a Monday...........
TV pitchman Don Lapre found dead in cell after apparent suicide - - CBS News

TV pitchman Don Lapre found dead in cell after apparent suicide

Quote:
(CBS) Authorities say TV pitchman Don Lapre was found dead after an apparent suicide in an Arizona jail cell on Sunday morning. Officials say they are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death. It was only a few days before his $52 million fraud trial was set to begin.

The 47-year-old had been charged with 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and promotional money laundering with his company, "The Greatest Vitamin in the World."

Pictures: Celebrity mugshots

Lapre called himself "The King of Infomercials" on his website; he gained notoriety from his numerous late night advertisements, including "Making Money From A Tiny One Bedroom Apartment," where he claimed he made $50,000 a week from his small apartment. The infomercials were parodied on "Saturday Night Live," and made fun of on the "Late Show with David Letterman."
The indictment claims the Arizona-based TV pitchman received millions from his scam between 2004 to 2007. He was accused of tricking at least 220,000 people with worthless Internet-based businesses mostly revolving around a pyramid scheme to sell vitamins that did not provide the health benefits he claimed. His company was shut down in 2007 due to multiple complaints.

If convicted, he would have faced between $250,000 to $500,000 per count and five to 25 years in federal prison.
Quote:
?King of Infomercials? Busted for Vitamin Fraud ? TMZ.com
Daily Mail'King of Infomercials' Busted for Vitamin FraudTMZ.comDon Lapre, the self-proclaimed "King of Infomercials," has been indicted for allegedly defrauding several hundred thousand people out of millions of bucks by making bogus vitamin claims. Lapre, who has been a fixture on early AM TV hawking various ?Don Lapre, the 'King of Infomercials,' arrested in ArizonaWashington Post (blog)Don Lapre, King of Infomercials, Faces Fraud ChargesHULIQDon Lapre, 'King of Infomercials,' arrestedZap2it.com (blog)Daily Mail -Arizona Republic -AZFamily
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TV, Web Pitchman Donald Lapre Arraigned In ?Medical Facility? After Arrest By Federal Agents; Accused Huckster Recovering From ?Self-Inflicted? Wounds To Legs After Missing Court Date

He called it ?The Greatest Vitamin in the World.? Federal prosecutors in Arizona, however, called it conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, promotional money-laundering and transactional money-laundering, accusing Donald Lapre of selling ?essentially worthless? Internet businesses to more than 226,000 victims. And now Lapre, 47, is under arrest. Prosecutors said he skipped a June 22 court [...]

Customers lured by the prospect of receiving ?$1,000 checks? were dubbed ?independent advertisers,? but Lapre provided them ?false vitamin sales records? and sold them ?bulk,? untargeted web traffic while claiming the traffic was targeted, prosecutors said.

?The ?business? primarily consisted of selling the Greatest Vitamin in the World . . . over the Internet and the opportunity to sell the opportunity to do the same thing to others,? prosecutors said.

Sales reps ?regularly? signed up ?independent advertisers? even if they did not own a computer, prosecutors said.

?Mr. Lapre used incessant nationally televised infomercials to hawk his vitamins and worthless websites as a way to get rich quick without working hard,? said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke of the District of Arizona. ?His scams swindled a sea of victims, but thanks to the efforts of the [U.S.] Postal Inspection Service and the IRS, he will face justice.?

Lapre was charged in a 41-count indictment issued by a federal grand jury earlier this month. He potentially faces decades in prison, if convicted on all counts.

Fox 10 News in Phoenix reported that Lapre hid from authorities in a 24-hour gym.
TV, Web Pitchman Donald Lapre Arraigned In ‘Medical Facility’ After Arrest By Federal Agents; Accused Huckster Recovering From ‘Self-Inflicted’ Wounds To Legs After Missing Court Date
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