Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Monday, July 08, 2013

Kevin Trudeau: Gone fishing? Or something...

Click to enlarge.

Apparently the buzz about Kevin Trudeau going to Canada for a GIN Adventures fishing trip was not quite accurate, so I have updated this post accordingly.
~ CC, 12 July, 2013

successful, happy billionaire, recently finding himself in a bit of a legal bind, was apparently unable to post a mere $209,000 bond, and allowed his aged and unabashedly middle-class parents to put up their modest home -- a home in which they have lived for 60 years -- just so he could go to Canada for...who knows what?
By now many people who have been following serial scammer Kevin Trudeau's legal woes know that his parents put their Massachusetts home up late last month to secure a bond in Trudeau's ongoing criminal contempt case [case number 1:10-cr-00886, the Hon. Ronald A. Guzman presiding], which is related to his civil case with the Federal Trade Commission [case number 1:03-CV-03904, the Hon. Robert Gettleman presiding]. Trudeau had previously been ordered to surrender his US passport to the court (he has an Italian passport too, but claimed that he left it in a biometric safe in Zurich). Well, he was given his passport back so he could travel to Canada, even though he had previously been ordered to stay in the Chicago area until his cases are resolved.

But The Great White North was calling, and the courts said, "Okay, bud, you can go, but you have to put up that bond." Or something to that effect. I can't access all of the documents yet, but I did access the Forfeiture Agreement, aka document #69 on the criminal case docket.

This isn't the first time Katie had his passport snatched away, and then requested permission to go to Canada. It happened in February 2010 too, during that whole email-the-judge debacle. That time, Katie was told he could not go to Canada and he had to stay in his room. Or in the Chicago area, anyway. There was talk of throwing him in jail for thirty days for contempt for that email campaign. But that sentence was vacated, and his passport was duly returned.

So why is Kevin in Canada now, apart from the fact that the court allowed him to go? The initial buzz was that he went on another GIN Adventures fishing trip, similar to others he has led, and for which he charges participants his usual exorbitant price for the privilege of hanging with him for a few days.
Others, however, said that  the GIN Adventure trips are always in August, suggesting that perhaps that was not why Katie went to Canada.But if you think I'm going to let a perfectly good snark op get away from me, you have another think coming. Anyway, here's the PDF of the GIN Report featuring his 2012 trip.

If you peruse that report you'll know that a GIN-ventures excursion isn't just any fishing trip, no-siree. This is a chance of a lifetime for a few lucky GIN brothers (there don't seem to be any GIN sisters in evidence). Said one enthusiastic sucker...um...participant named Mike B, regarding the 2012 fishing adventure:

The Initial GIN Adventure...was a huge success! While the expected benefits of great fishing, great hosts, great location, and great weather were all certainly experienced, the trip went light years beyond that. The added benefits of it being an exclusive GIN event with fantastic, supportive, lively, warm GIN hosts, and fun loving and adventurous fishermen -- proved again that there is no club like the Global Information Network! And the fact that there were no phones or computers made it possible to connect completely with all in attendance, and to be present to the wonderful experience of fishing and masterminding together. I would strongly recommend GIN adventures to each and every member. I know that I will never be the same person after attending. Experience for yourself, the staggering life experience, at one of the next GIN adventures. You'll be glad you did. I personally cannot wait to go back, and do not plan on ever missing a future GIN Adventure.

Naturally, the various contingents are fiercely divided over the matter of the bond -- that is, if the conversations on Facebook and YouTube are any indication. Most of the anti-KT folks are saying that Trudeau was heartless and crass, or at least highly irresponsible and hypocritical, for "making" his parents do this, or asking them to do it, or allowing them to do it, or whatever the case may be, particularly since he is supposed to be so well off. Admittedly, though, none of us is really privy to the Trudeau family dynamics, so we do not know all of the details.

On the other side of the fray we have Kevin's defenders, who say the home is not at risk because Kevin will certainly -- no doubt about it! -- keep his commitment to return and face the music, just like he keeps all of his commitments. And besides, they contend, the whole FTC case is unjust, and is a clear example of judicial tyranny. Some have argued that we shouldn't assume that Kevin coerced or even asked his folks to put up their home; maybe, say the KT fans, the elder Trudeaus volunteered. Maybe they insisted.

Of course these defenders overlook the fact that...pardon me for stating the painfully obvious... a successful billionaire type like Kevin shouldn't have to depend upon his presumably much less wealthy parents to bail him out. And while I'll grant that not all of the issues with the government are black-and-white or a clear-cut case of good versus evil -- with the government being good and KT being evil -- it is not a clear-cut case the other way either. Kevin isn't the good one fighting the evil government. But he doesn't let a little thing like that get in the way of his continued dramatic misrepresentation of his entire struggle --
which he has been perpetrating for years, with his followers just eating it up.

The big question, for those of us who are concerned about the well being of two sweet old people, is this: Are Mr. and Mrs. Trudeau really in danger of losing their home because of their youngest son's misdeeds? Maybe, maybe not. My pal Tim suggested a few possible scenarios:  

  • Kevin's parents, who are getting on in years, were preparing to move into a condo or perhaps even an assisted living facility anyway. If they own the home free and clear [which according to the information on the Forfeiture Agreement they absolutely do... at least on paper ~ CC], the facility will lien the house and spend the money until they reach the maximum value or the elder Trudeaus pass away. So this could be a good way to set aside money for beneficiaries.  
  • Mr and Mrs T have been benefiting from KT's scams well enough to be involved now in the bad end of it.  [I don't want to believe that, though. They look like such nice folks. ~CC]
  • KT knows the FTC is ready to give up and settle so he has no reason to run away; the millions spent on lawyers is already spent anyway.  
  • All of this was done to bolster his bankruptcy case before August 30, which is the deadline for protesting the discharge of the case. The whole point of the bankruptcy was to convince the courts that KT has no money to pay the big ($37.6 million) fine that the FTC says he owes them. Maybe it will help his case if he can convince them that he doesn't even have enough money to post a paltry $209,000 bond, having to resort instead to allowing his folks to risk their home.
  • KT really is broke again and this was his last option... but it is a pretty big deal to do this just to go fishing in Canada [or whatever he is/was doing there ~CC], so it seems unlikely.  
Of course it could be that Katie is tired of fighting and he wanted just one more fishing trip with the boys -- another op to fish with them, get drunk with them, and pick their pockets -- before surrendering to whatever the FTC and the courts have in store for him. Maybe it's sort of the equivalent of letting your folks give you some money so you can go on a really neat trip before buckling down and starting college.

(There's also the remote possibility that his parents didn't understand what they were signing, but you would think that the courts would have their legal ducks in a row on that matter.)

But Kevin seems to have a contingency plan no matter what happens. Remember, he already has big plans to write a big heroic epic book if he gets thrown in the slammer. I may have mentioned that
on this post. Anyway, I'm sure that everything is perfectly fine, and that the only reason Mommy and Daddy put up their home is that Kevin accidentally left his moneys in his biometric safe in Zurich, along with his Italian passport.

It does appear that Katie's folks have been striving to protect him for decades -- or at least his mom has, assuming that the now-famous 1991 letter to a judge, begging for leniency for Kevin, was really written by Mrs. Trudeau. Some speculate that Kevin wrote the letter himself, or had his mom write it. I've shared it before,
but here's that link again -- the link to Page 1, anyway, and you can follow the arrows to read the rest.

And this raises another issue about the roles that parents and other loved ones play in enabling scammers and crooks. Most of us -- me included -- have a tendency to err on the side of compassion for loved ones who may be innocent bystanders or collateral damage, and who are "guilty" themselves of nothing more than unconditional love and loyalty for the wrongdoer in their life. But sometimes you just have to ask how much this unconditional love and loyalty have contributed, however unwittingly, to that person's wrongdoing. There are several books on this subject;
one that seems useful is The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout, PhD.

Katie's defenders say that at least he is taking care of his parents, pointing to something learned from the recent deposition of Kevin's former financial guy, Michael Dow.
I wrote about that here (scroll down to "The Dow deposition"). One of the FTC's lawyers, Mr. Mora, asked Michael Dow questions about Kevin's lavish property in Ojai, California. In the depo, Mr. Mora asked about some of the expenses related to the California property, and Mr. Dow said they included, "The monthly mortgage, a landscaping service, care for Mr. Trudeau's parents." Mr. Mora asked if the parents resided in the California home and Mr. Dow stuttered around and said he honestly did not know.

But Kevin's parents live in Massachusetts, not California. I don't know why the "care" he was allegedly providing for his elders would be listed as an expense against the Ojai house, but I've never claimed to be a bookkeeping expert. However, as my friend Tim also observed, "The Ojai house looks like a nice way to funnel money around. If they look more closely there might be checks from KT for expenses like roofers, gardeners, etc., and some of those people might be based in Massachusetts."

After his mission in Canada is completed, will Kevin somehow manage to slip the surly bonds of US judicial oversight and disappear somewhere overseas, perhaps even somewhere beyond the reach of extradition laws? If so, one can only hope that he is the good and dutiful son that his fans would like to believe he is, and that he'll at least find a way to make sure the bond is covered so his dear old parents won't lose their home. If so, the fans will applaud him for being a hero and looking out for his folks even while fighting tyrants, and they will mourn the fact that he had to leave his beloved United States to get away from the tyranny.

Whether he flees or comes back, there will be no neat and tidy endings (where have we heard that before? Oh, that's right: here!). For one thing, unless it gets cancelled, it appears that GIN will be holding a summer conference in Zurich on July 26-28, just as the judges are deciding Katie's fate (supposedly they are due to make a decision on July 26. At least that's when the hearings are currently expected to resume, and Kevin is required to be in court for that).

If/when Katie comes back from Canada, perhaps the courts will give him his passport back later this month so he can go to Zurich. For such tyrannical types, they sure have been letting him get away with an awful lot of stuff that would have probably landed most of us under the slammer.

Update, 12 July 2013: According to this piece in the Chicago Tribune, Kevin went to Canada for a "seminar-planning" session.
The legal consequences for Trudeau appear to be building. Just last week he nearly missed a seminar-planning session in Canada because prosecutors asked Guzman to force him to turn in his passports — he has dual U.S.-Italian citizenship — and post a bond.

At the hearing, Trudeau's attorneys sought to convince Guzman that their client had significant ties to Illinois and didn't pose a risk to flee. The seminars and speeches were his only way of eking out a living, they said...

...Ultimately, Trudeau was allowed to go to Winnipeg after his parents agreed to post their longtime Massachusetts home as collateral for his $200,000-plus bond. The judge ordered that Trudeau turn over his Italian passport in spite of earlier claims that it was locked in a biometric safe in Zurich that could be opened only with his fingerprint ID. On the scheduled day of the trip, the passport suddenly turned up.

So there you have it. For now.

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Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

It has also occurred to me that if he decides to talk about it at some point, Katie can always tell the story that he wanted to pay with his money -- really, he did! -- but the mean old courts wouldn't let him, deciding instead to use his parents as emotional blackmail in order to ensure that he will come back. I just pulled that one out of my a$$, but it does sound like something that either Kevin might say or that his followers might invent in order to rationalize, doesn't it? Scammers should pay me for this stuff, but I don't know how I would feel about taking dirty money.

Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:01:00 PM  

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