SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – The ostentatious contents of the California home of former TV pitchman and convicted fraudster Kevin Trudeau go on sale on Friday to pay a $38 million judgment over false promises he made in a weight-loss book, according to an estate sale listing.
Trudeau has battled federal regulators for years over his marketing of various products to combat cancer, hair loss, memory loss and obesity in infomercials that were ubiquitous on late-night television in the United States.
A federal jury in Chicago convicted Trudeau, 51, in November of criminal contempt for violating a 2004 federal court settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that barred him from misrepresenting the contents of his books in advertisements.
Trudeau’s Los Angeles-area home will be emptied of a number of curiosities, including a menagerie of Swarovski crystals, a 72-candle chandelier, a grand piano, dishes, trinkets and art, said Will Munyon of Munyon and Sons, an estate sale firm that is running the sale of the home’s contents.
Autographed copies of Trudeau’s discredited best-selling diet books will sell for $3 apiece.
The home itself, valued at nearly $1.25 million but which carries debt approaching its estimated worth, is also listed for sale with Keller Williams Realty in Santa Barbara, under orders from the U.S. District Court in Chicago.
A sale of the contents of Trudeau’s suburban Chicago home is slated for the spring, according to documents filed by the receiver in federal court.
Two of Trudeau’s Chicago-based attorneys did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Buyers lining up at Trudeau’s 3,961-square-foot (368-square-metre) home in Ojai will be given tickets designating their place in line for the three-day sale, according to the organizer’s website.
Trudeau has been jailed in Chicago since November for civil contempt of court and is awaiting a March sentencing for his criminal contempt conviction, according to prison records and government officials.
In a Facebook message on Tuesday, he called the items in his home “priceless.”
Prosecutors had argued in November proceedings that Trudeau knowingly violated the 2004 agreement while marketing his book, “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You To Know About,” in infomercials made in 2006 and 2007 that aired thousands of times.
In 2010, a U.S. judge ordered Trudeau to pay consumers nearly $38 million based on the books sold. A U.S. judge had ordered Trudeau jailed overnight in September and for six days in October for failing to pay the nearly $38 million judgment, or to account fully for his assets.
(Editing by Eric M. Johnson, Cynthia Johnston and Jonathan Oatis)