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.)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Kevin Trudeau: GIN sale approved, Katie's in Alabama, still crying poor, and still selling coaching sessions


So it's time for more of the latest news on caged serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, aka KT, Whirled name Katie. I would have blogged about all of this yesterday, but that whole Death-Ray-on-the-comeback-trail video thing had me kind of upset. It's important to continue to keep our focus on the entire context of Scamworld, and James Arthur Ray is such a huge, horrible, glaring example of that. But still... there's Katie. And there's his big boondoggle GIN, the Global Information Network. And the fact that there are no neat and tidy endings in his or any Scamworld story. So here goes.

GIN sale: Motion granted on 27 May 2014
As expected,
the court appointed receiver's motion to sell GIN to a group of Katie buds, the AXS Investment Group, was granted on May 27. It seems that GIN, despite the best efforts of the GIN destroyers, will live on. Below is the notification of docket entry; that's all that's up so far. But I'm sure the judge's signed, dated order, and possibly other docs, will be up soon. I will share as soon as I get them.

UPDATE, 30 May, 2014: Judge Gettleman's order approving the sale, which was signed and filed on May 27, is finally available on PACER (I did check every day, and now here it is).Word is that the GIN sale was actually finalized yesterday (May 29) and all but three staffers were let go... which is pretty much as expected. My pal Bernie has details on GINtruth.

I've also heard that the women who work for new GIN co-owner JeffDevine (who months ago had told me he wasn't in the market to buy GIN) are safe because they are on a different payroll -- Jeff's company, The Hybrid Group.

Word is that in an effort to get back some of the best ones they let go, GIN has dangled the carrot of a promise of a job, at reduced salary and commission-only basis, which is consistent with the buzz we'd been hearing for months. Reportedly, though, they can only get their jobs back if they can lure people back into the club. I don't know if they were given quotas or not, but in any case I've heard that at least some of the fired staffers aren't biting, and are actually relieved to be out of the drama. They are realizing that it is time to start a new chapter in their lives. I wish them well. I hope they can find good jobs outside of Scamworld. Despite what some of the GIN principals have told me, and despite their efforts to convince me that GIN is just another professional org like thousands of others, in my view GIN is part of Scamworld, and always will be.


Sweet home Alabama: Katie's new digs
As you may have heard, Katie has finally been moved to his new home-for-the-next-decade-or-so. He's now in a federal prison camp in Alabama, FPC Montgomery. You will be delighted to know that it has been rated as THE best prison camp in the United States. "Way to manifest, Kevin!" wrote his proxy on a May 28 Facebook post (which was met with the usual round of "likes" and adoring responses).

FPC may be cushier than your normal everyday max-security lockups. But it's still prison.

But still.

So now with his big club GIN in control of his loyal buddies, and Katie staying in a prison camp that's about as good as prison can be in the U.S., and thousands of fans still adoring him and thinking he's a hero and a martyr... Well, you know what that obnoxious Cosmic blogger likes to say: "No neat and tidy endings." Personally I'm glad he's in a nice place, because if I'm going to end up in the same cell with him due to my criminal blogging activities,
as Loony Coldwell predicted a few months ago, I'd rather it be a nice place than a not-nice place.

Anyway, if you want to write to Katie, here's his new addy:

Kevin Trudeau -- 18046036
FPC MONTGOMERY
Federal Prison Camp
Maxwell Air Force Base
Montgomery, AL 36112

And the poor boy drama continues...
There's another Katie drama that I have
previously mentioned here and on Facebook, and I thought it was more or less over, but no, it continues. This has to do with Trudeau's criminal case -- or rather, the appeal, which is now a separate case, Case no. 14-1869. Ever since his conviction, Katie and his lawyers have been going back and forth with the courts trying to convince them that Katie is too poor to afford the $505 filing fee for his appeal. The court has already denied him the right to waive the fee, per the government's request; the government has cited all of the money that Katie has had in his prison account since his confinement, and has spent.

But Katie -- or rather his law firm Winston & Strawn, who have said they will now represent him pro bono -- wouldn't give up, and tried again. They are the ones who were pushing to have the filing fee waived, and they also wanted to be reimbursed for their travel expenses and whatnot. At the very least, though, they want the court to appoint a new lawyer,
Christopher M. Bruno, as counsel of record. (Bruno is with Winston & Strawn and is a winner of the 2012 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll, High Honor Roll.)
 
Anyway. Here are two of the latest appeals documents, filed May 21 (the government) and May 23 (Katie's lawyers).
Trudeau-criminal-appeal-14-1869-Documents-12-and-13-re-In-Forma-Pauperis-etc-05-21-and-05-23-14.pdf
(Note: this is a Facebook download. If you can't access it don't worry;
here is the Scribd link.)

But... personal coaching from Katie is still available!
Someone forwarded an email to me announcing that Katie is still doing in-person or over-the-phone "coaching" sessions, now for the bargain-basement price of only $2,000.00 for two hours (formerly $5.000.00 for one hour):

Spots still available for coaching with Kevin Trudeau
You still have an opportunity to buy a 2-hour coaching session with KT, either in person or via energy work for $2,000. This offer has previously been sold for $5,000 for one hour. It is only being offered to those in our company.

KT is now in Montgomery, Alabama.

Please respond if you are interested or have more questions.
Brenda Maetzold
The Secret To Life Coaching
That's right... the man behind bars, who claims to be too darned poor to afford a $505 filing fee for his criminal appeal, will teach YOU how to be successful. Heck of a deal!

Here's the link to a page on The Secret To Life Coaching company, which is run by long-time Katie bud Coral Thomas. You'll see Coral's bio and Brenda's as well. I've mentioned Coral a few times on this Whirled. A couple of C.I.s have told me to watch out for her and her pals, because they're still actively involved in enterprises that will benefit Katie. Coral and gang reportedly have an agreement with Katie to raise a certain amount of money -- $100k or so, according to some sources -- for his legal defense in exchange for rights to market some of his frauducts and flopportunities and/or other benefits. (A few months ago I was also told that Katie's old ITV Direct buddy Donald Barrett is somehow involved in some of the enterprises as well, but haven't followed up on that line of inquiry.)

Interestingly enough, although Coral's company has reportedly made claims that they will have $200 million in revenue,
The Secret to Life Coaching Company is listed on Facebook as being "Permanently Closed. Hmmm.
The road goes on forever, and the scamming never ends.

But no worries. TheSecretToLifeCoaching.com still has an active Facebook page
 
You know... no neat and tidy endings.



Addendum 5 June, 2014:  My pal Bernie at GINtruth.com did a short write-up on a June 3 story about the GIN sale, presented by Emmy Award winning reporter Ryan Kath (KSHB-TV/41 Action News (Kansas City, Missouri NBC affiliate). Good for Ryan. As noted on this Whirled a few times, he's one of the few reporters (outside of Katie's former home base, Chicago) who has kept on this story since he did his first one in November 2012. That story even got a positive nod from Salty Droid, who isn't easily impressed.

Addendum 18 June, 2014: On June 16, just in the nick of time (he only had until June 20), the pauper Kevin Trudeau came up with the $505 to pay his filing fee for his appeal. Whew, close one!


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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Death Ray hones his comeback shtick, while sister of one of his victims pleas to Oprah to break her silence

Looking a bit chunkier than before, and sporting a scruffy-chic long-haired look, star of The Secret and convicted killer James Arthur "Death" Ray is honing his comeback shtick (previously covered on this Whirled here and here). He is exploiting the hell out of the fact that he served a (much too short) prison sentence for cooking three people to death in a phony sweat lodge at an October 2009 event in Sedona, Arizona. As he has been doing almost since it happened, Ray is still framing the deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore, and Liz Neuman as HIS tragic story. But now he has turned it into an actual Live Event dog-and-pony show (no offense to dogs or ponies), promoting the whole thing as an inspirational tale of how anyone can successfully battle the slings and arrows and come up smiling (if a little more red-eyed).
 
Here is a link to the promo clip; nausea advisory in effect.

"Let me tell you...how much labels DON'T mean anything," he says in a croaking, fake-heartfelt voice towards the beginning of the clip. What about labels like "KILLER who served a ridiculously short sentence and is hot on the comeback trail?" This is disgusting, of course, but not unexpected. Once again...
No Neat and Tidy Endings.

Here is another perspective, published yesterday (May 27, 2014) by Jean Brown Allison, the sister of Kirby Brown, one of the three Death Lodge victims. Jean takes Oprah Winfrey -- a big promoter of The Secret and its "stars" -- to task for Oprah's roaring four-and-a-half-year silence about the tragedy in Sedona.
You helped make this sham of a man what he was. In fact, it was after seeing him on your show that my sister, Kirby Brown, read “The Secret” and became a fan of James Ray. I remember, when we were together for my wedding at my parents’ house in July 2009–3 months before she’d die of heat stroke in a plastic tent in Arizona–I remember Kirby telling me that I had to read this book, that it was amazing, that James Ray was amazing, that he’d been on Oprah, that she was looking forward to the Ray event she’d be attending a few months later… That’s right. She mentioned YOU by name.

Why am I getting on this, nearly five years later?

James Ray is out of prison and has quickly jumped right back into the self-help world. He is positioning himself as a man who has seen the greatest heights, and then fallen to the greatest lows, and is now climbing his way back up. He is telling/selling the story of how life has been so hard on him, and how these challenges are what make him the man who can help others. He is selling this story of a tragedy that happened to HIM, just like days after the deaths when he called our house and told my mother that this was the worst thing that had happened to HIM and he was sorry that it had happened.

But it does not appear that he has learned anything. He talks of the deaths of my sister and the other victims in Sedona as an “accident,” saying nothing of his role in what transpired. It’s the same tack he took right after the incident, passing blame to others, or worse, trying to spin the deaths as something that was meant to happen, something that the victims brought upon themselves...

Jean follows by mentioning
SEEKSafely.org, the organization founded by Kirby and Jean's parents, Ginny and George Brown. I've written about it a few times, including here. One of the first things Seek Safely did was to create the Seek Safely Promise, a simple document that encouraged self-help leaders to agree to basic principles and practices to ensure the safety and dignity of participants in their events.

As of this writing, 34 have signed the Promise (pretty much all of them are B- and C-listers at best):
http://www.seeksafely.org/seek-safely-promise/who-has-made-the-promise/

And 167 have not signed it (including all of the A-listers who were approached -- and that includes Oprah):
http://www.seeksafely.org/seek-safely-promise/who-has-not-made-the-promise/

Are you surprised? Me neither.

But I applaud the Browns for their efforts, and I will continue to support and promote those efforts. Apropos of that, the organization will be holding a summit in Sedona on June 6, 2014;
click here for more info.

My pal Salty Droid, who has been much too quiet lately,
wrote a blog post last week about the word "retarded" and his decision to stop using that word. This is relevant here because, of all the bloggers in the blogosphere (and all the media on the Interwebz, for that matter), Salty has, in my opinion, provided the best James Ray coverage over the past four and a half years. In his May 22 post he mentioned, and linked to, the Seek Safely Promise.

But I’m the one who’s learned the big lesson here :: primarily … that making progress is really … really … really … super duper fucking hard. You think just because you’ve noticed something terribly wrong with the world :: and pointed at it with bells on … that people will care and shit will change. But it ain’t like that at all. People mostly care about themselves … and inertia is a belligerent bitch.
I don’t think eliminating words is the right way to earn #respect for kids with disabilities. Just like I don’t think trying to get cartels of intentionally vicious manipulators to sign the SEEK Safely Promise is the right way to get self-help reform.
But what the hell do I know? Almost nothing. My bright idea was insane-a-tron fake robot asshole … not exactly a catchall solution.
There is no right way to do the impossible :: there’s only trying … and I can sympathize/relate to anyone attempting to accomplish a hard thing against long odds.
Just do :: something … anything.
Yeah, what Salty said. Just do something.... anything. One thing you can do is to keep an eye on James Arthur Ray. Watch for any organizations that book him as a keynote speaker, and/or might be promoting him in any way. And if you see that Ray is being showcased somewhere, say something to the promoters. Call them on it. They might not care, but if they don't, you can publicize that. Write emails, notify the media, stage protests if you're so moved.

Ray may very well try to go it on his own and hold solo events, with no other scammers and psychopaths involved. But no Scamworld guru is an island; there's a lot of cross-promotion in Scamworld. For instance, I've written numerous times on this blog about the promotional relationship between now-jailed serial scammer Kevin Trudeau and James Ray --
here and here, for starters. (I have commemorated it pictorially as well.) If you don't feel like following those links, here's a recap: Trudeau defended Ray on his radio show a few years ago, and later, while Ray was in prison for killing people, his organization was busily promoting Your Wish Is Your Command, the 14-CD upsell for Katie's Global Information Network (GIN).

In addition, for quite a while, some of Ray's products were being sold in the GIN Store.
There's a bit of discussion about that here.

And since Ray got out of prison, Trudeau's former marketing guy, Peter Wink, who now has
a GIN ripoff of his own (in partnership with one of this Whirled's least favorite lunatics, Mocktor Lenny Coldwell), apparently made overtures to Ray. I've mentioned this before, but it's worth mentioning again. This is from August 3, 2013.


There are no neat and tidy endings in Scamworld, but I believe that building awareness is a good and helpful thing to do.

Just do something.

 
Addendum, 9 June 2014: Mincing no words, Omri at Glancing Web weighs in re the Death Ray comeback shtick. Go Omri! (Have I told you lately how good it is to see that you're still blogging even after Loony C, mistakenly thinking you were Salty Droid, tried to shut you down?)

Omri lovingly addresses Ray:

… you rapacious swine, you soul plunderer, you misery merchant, you death dealer, you sociopath whose narcissism is only equal to his megalomania, you murderous bastard, you emotionless parasite, you walking ruination, you Orwellian buffoon, you ignominy of a Homo sapiens, you uneducated sham, you hellish nothingness, you cancerous feces and overall a very disagreeable person … please take your newly dyed mane and go f--k (the only person whom you’ve ever really loved) yourself.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

And one point really stuck out for me after I saw
a June 5, 2014 Facebook post by Connie Joy, author of Tragedy in Sedona: My Life in James Arthur Ray's Inner Circle. (On the first anniversary of the sweat lodge incident, I published a rather lengthy post citing this book.) Connie cited the "live mentoring" events now being advertised on Ray's web site. The point that really got to me was that Ray's Seattle event will be held on July 25, 2014 -- the five-year anniversary of Colleen Conaway's death at a Ray event in San Diego. And that's a death for which he has yet to be held accountable. Somebody in the area needs to organize a protest.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Some Whirled snippets while we're waiting for real news

I've been remiss this month -- only one May-dated post so far (although several of the April posts have various May updates, and I have been adding info and links to the most recent post in the comments section). It's not that it's been such a slow news month; there's always something on this beat, even if one of my favorite snargets, the lunatic not-doctor from Germany, has been rather quiet-ish on the Facebooks since he got his Krautsack kicked in court by Salty Droid.

Well, technically, the little Teutonic twerp's civil defamation case against Salty (who was mistakenly identified in the legal papers as
another blogger, Omri Shabat at Glancing Web) was dismissed on April 17, 2014, "for want of prosecution." That basically means that no one showed up during the scheduled hearing to argue Loony C's case (the lawyer who filed the suit, Dennis Kellogg, withdrew from the case fairly early on, which didn't stop Loony from boasting on Facebook about how he was going to decimate Salty in court). Anyway, ever since the dismissal the Loonmeister has been relatively silent; either that, or he just has all of my peeps blocked so nobody in my circle can see his manic blathering. But oh, well, there are plenty of other things to keep me amused.

Ozgate: behind the curtain
Not surprisingly,
jailed serial scammer Kevin Trudeau has been one of those diversions, providing rich fodder even when he presumably wasn't directly involved in the items in question. One example of something that doesn't overtly have Kevin's stamp on it, but still seems to be one of those guilt-by-association things (particularly since, as I noted here previously, his former asset protection attorney Marc J Lane seems to be involved) is the animated movie flop, Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return. I wrote about Oz-gate at length on this post, and in the comments. The Katie connection -- apart from possible (until proven otherwise) Katie connection Marc Lane -- is that certain members of Katie's big boondoggle, the Global Information Network, or GIN, were flogging this project to other members as an "investment opportunity." And as the initial release date neared, some GINners were boasting that the impressive amount of money raised for the film was an example of a few members putting their GIN training to work. Uh-huh.

I guess that could ultimately be true, regarding GIN "training"; in its less than five years of existence so far, GIN has taught many people the hard way that liars will tell any lie in order to get you to give them money. Some of the screwed "investors" may yet come to embrace Ozgate as a valuable lesson, while others, no doubt, will stay in denial. For now, one of the film's executive producers,
Greg Centineo, the guy who reportedly got GIN member John King involved with bilking the GIN rank and file, has been busily rationalizing the floppiness of the project. And "investors" who each paid $100,000 or more are embracing the theory that a Hollywood conspiracy destroyed the film. This fits right in with the mindset of GIN members, whose willingness to believe all sorts of nutty conspiracy theories made them easy marks for Trudeau in the first place. There's a lively discussion of the Ozflop on the 800Notes.com web site; the thread has been going on since 2008 and currently has 19 pages. Here's the link to page 1. In particular, pay attention to the comments on some of the more recent pages from a person going by the moniker "Legends of OZ Scam Expert."

GIN is not dead, despite Katie being caged
Meanwhile, the fate of GIN itself seems to be sealed. People have been speculating about this since long before the court-appointed receiver took over GIN and other Trudeau assets and business entities in early August 2013. Self-proclaimed "GIN destroyers" (bolstered by the likes of the aforementioned Loony C) have announced the death of GIN and the "final nail" numerous times,
but AXS Investment Group, a small band of investors and Katie buds with money, earned the receiver's approval to purchase GIN. Their proposal will be presented to Judge Robert Gettleman's court this coming Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 1:30 PM Central Daylight Time. Although protestors had a right to file their objections in the court (that deadline was May 12), the sale is expected to be approved.

And while all of this is going on, Trudeau's proxy continues to spew bits of inspirational "wisdom" on
his official Facebook fan page. Katie is due to be transferred to a new facility soon, where he will be serving the rest of his ten-year sentence, but I haven't seen any particulars about this yet. But at least his parents' home is officially safe; on May 21, Judge Ronald Guzman finally signed an order to exonerate the bond that had been holding their home hostage since July 2013.

While we're waiting for news about the GIN sale finalization and Katie's new address, here are a couple more tidbits to snack on.


A WIN-Wynn situation?
On Sunday evening, May 18, Perry Kiraly, the executive director of the WIN (World Information Network), one of the newest GIN ripoffs, sent an excited email to the membership.

WIN Family-Reunion Event
Wynn Encore Resort in Las Vegas
With keynote speaker: Gregg Braden

October 31st thru November 2nd 2014
Dear WIN Members & Supporters,
It wasn’t easy since he was booked solid for the remainder of 2014 but when
WIN asked Mr. Greg [sic] Braden to be the keynote speaker to launch its major event on October 31st he went out of his way to make it happen.

Mr. Braden’s biography includes being a New York Times bestselling author whose works have been publish in 27 languages and 30 countries. The following are some of the many books/CD’s he has published:
  • The Spontaneous Healing of Belief
  • The Divine Matrix
  • Deep Truth
  • The Turning Point
  • The Isaiah Effect, Fractal Time
  • Beyond Zero Point
Please click here to read Gregg’s biography: http://www.hayhouse.com/authorbio/gregg-braden
Please click on the following YouTube links to view some of Gregg’s seminars:

The Spontaneous Healing of Belief:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8DeBePK3Wg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLPahLakP_Q

The Devine
[sic -- unless he's talking about
prospective GINvestment group member Jeff Devine ~CC] Matrix
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyCiL8ql7bs

This event will take place at the fabulous
Wynn Encore Resort Hotel in Las Vegas. Click on this link to view the Resort:
http://www.wynnlasvegas.com/

The event package will include:

  • 2-night stay in a Wynn/Encore resort suite (Oct. 31st/Friday & Nov. 1st/Saturday)
  • Keynote speaker Gregg Braden ( on Friday Oct. 31st /Event starts at 7 PM)
  • Other speakers (to be announced) on Saturday/Nov. 1st
  • An exclusive private banquet/party for attendees on Saturday evening at the renown Wynn Resort Nightclub The Tryst (please click on this link to view): http://www.wynnlasvegas.com/NightClubs/Tryst
In addition to WIN Members this event is being made available to all who wish to attend to accommodate those that follow Gregg Braden’s work as well as other interested guests. Please consider also that seating & rooms are limited so this event is likely to sell out quickly. Register now to reserve your seat. If you register before May 31, 2014 you will receive a $100.00 discount on the package price.

You will want to be at this event!

For reservations, questions, and further details please call: Beverly Weaver (WIN Events & Member Services) at [redacted].

Thank you and have an excellent day,

Perry Kiraly,
Executive Director, World Information Network
Admittedly, Braden is a bigger "name" in the biz than some of the speakers GIN has been parading around at their recent pathetic events, such as the "Family Reunion" in DC in October 2013. But, alas, he is still full of New-Wage crap. In fact I wrote about him years ago; this is from February 2007.

At first I wondered what sort of deal WIN was giving him and/or vice versa. Maybe, I thought, Braden's star is fading and he is desperate for attention. But then I went back and looked more closely at Perry's letter and noticed that bit towards the end, where he said that in addition to WIN members, the event is being made available to all who wish to attend, in order to accommodate Gregg's fans and "other interested guests."

So, obviously, Braden wants to be ensured that he will have an actual audience that will make the appearance worth his time. In any event, he seemed to have a fairly long blank spot in his busy schedule,
judging from the listings on his web site. After October 26 and before November 13, he doesn't really seem to have anything going. So far the WIN/Wynn thing isn't listed on his page. It kind of looks as if WIN and Gregg are exaggerating about the momentous nature of this event. I know, I'm as shocked as you.

Natural Cures is feeling poorly these days
If you've been following this blog, or for that matter, the press about Katie, you probably know about his Natural Cures scampire, and how its creation was sort of a big turning point for him.
Salon.com published a good article about the phenomenon back in July of 2005, nearly a year before this Whirled was born. Katie's first Natural Cures book was the tool used to suck thousands into his sales vortex; it was lauded by co-creator and marketing strategist Reno R. Rollé as a breakthrough that "could revolutionize the book publishing industry." (And yes, I know I've mentioned this before, but sometimes it's good to review.)
It was Reno Rollé who initially urged Trudeau to combine his extensive experience in infomercials with the book business. “I suggested he focus less on hard products, ingestibles, and more on information and newsletters,” he says. “That way he could find a safe harbor under First Amendment protections.” They teamed up to see if, and how, it would work. “No one knew how a book would behave,” he says. “Initially we treated the book as just a product that shouldn’t behave differently than a stomach exerciser or kitchen utensils.” It’s a strategy that paid off handsomely.
“The infomercial business is very standardized,” Rollé continues. “You put the product on TV first to create awareness and sell a large number of ‘units.’ Then, after a period of time, you pull trigger and head out to retail.” And once a product hits retail, as “Natural Cures” did just four weeks ago, Rollé says, the industry standard is to sell two to 10 times as many “units” as were sold on TV.
See, Kev had already been in trouble with the Feds for years; he'd been out of prison since 1993 but had gotten himself into trouble again in short order. Essentially Reno helped him with strategies that would allow him to keep on telling lies without getting into more trouble. Ultimately that didn't work, but Reno apparently jumped out before more serious troubles began and the Feds really started turning up the heat. In fact he was Trudeau's CEO for a while, but spins his resignation from that position as his discovery that Katie was doing some dodgy things. Somewhere along the way, some of the ill will Katie is known to attract got stuck to Reno too, and he felt obligated to defend himself on Ripoff Report. This is an excerpt from his defense, which for some reason was published in triplicate:

I have never in my life been convicted of a single crime. I have never partnered with a convicted felon.

I believe the author [of the complaint] has the false idea that I am some how "partnered" with Kevin Trudeau. I was employed briefly by Kevin Trudeau as his CEO and resigned almost immediately. He and I had very different philosophies with regard to handling his legal challenges with the US Government. These challenges had NOTHING to do with me and were the result of actions that occurred prior to my joining his company.

After resigning as CEO, I stayed on as an INDEPENDENT executive consultant. I had moved my family across the country. Yes, I was involved and even co-created Kevin's best selling book but I did NOT write the book.
And now, as I've noted here before, Reno is a co-producer in a fictionalized film project about Katie and GIN, The Platinum Bonus. I wonder what sort of fund raising shenanigans are going on with that project. I wonder if it will ever be completed, much less released.

But I digress.

One of the bad things the Natural Cures book did, besides luring the unsuspecting masses into Katie's sales funnel, was to elevate nut cases like Coldwell --
and for that matter, this guy -- to prominence, by virtue of Kevin recommending their frauducts and flopportunities. But it gave me more blog fodder, so there's that. Although the book was widely panned by reviewers, real-as-opposed-to-fake health experts, and customers, that didn't stop Katie from perpetrating a Natural Cures sequel (without Reno) and numerous other books, all of which were promoted in infomercials, and one of which, The Weight Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You To Know About, ultimately landed him in the slammer for civil and criminal contempt (the ten-year sentence is for criminal contempt; he still faces a $37.6 million fine for the civil matter).

The Natural Cures web site thrived for several years. But now, alas, it seems that the site is down for the count. A friend forwarded an email that was sent out earlier this month.

From: support@emailnaturalcures.com
To:
Sent: 5/7/2014 10:23:04 A.M. Central Daylight Time
Subj: Latest news for Diabetes | NaturalCures.Com site down


As regular visitors to our Natural Cures site you will have noticed the site is currently down. I’m sorry to say it’s a combination of factors. Firstly, a minor technical glitch, secondly a more sinister one, for which I can’t go in to too much detail, but sadly will probably involve lawyers & regulators. Clearly the information we are providing for free is causing some issues out there.

The technical side also impacts our support email addresses, so if you have emailed in over the past few days, you will receive a bounced email. This also looks like it will take some time to resolve.

Social media: How to reach us

If you need to reach us, you can visit our Social media sites which we will be monitoring. You’ll find us at:

Facebook.com/NaturalCures
Twitter.com/NaturalCures

If it is a private matter, be sure to use the message service on both platforms rather than an open post otherwise everything is visible. For Twitter, you can’t Direct Message (DM) us if we don’t already follow you. So if that happens, just tweet us from your account that you’d like to DM us and we’ll follow you to open up that function.
..
The rest of the email was a promo for some "natural" something-or-other for diabetes.

As you may know if you've been following this blog, long-time Trudeau bud and UK resident Lee Kenny is the current "owner" of Natural Cures.
He bought it for a mere $100k towards the end of 2012.

So why is the site down? Beats me; the best I can do for now is read between the lines of that email. I have a feeling that Natural Cures -- or, more specifically, Lee Kenny -- is being investigated because he is a good buddy of Kevin's and he probably knows a lot that he hasn't told the investigators yet. Even the receiver noted that they thought Lee wasn't being completely forthcoming about "where the money is." Plus, he has been promoting
Katie's $997.00 baccarat scam through Natural Cures (and he was processing the proceeds through Future Transactions Company, aka the FTC (ha, ha, get it?)). I've been ragging about this matter on this Whirled for months and months.

I have mentioned this a few times on this Whirled (
most recently here, and I wrote about it last August), but here it is again, because you know how I love to repeat myself. Natural Cures was set up in the first place to feed KT's legal defense fund. Here is a direct link to some August 2013 court documents that clearly state when and why Natural Cures Health Institute (NCHI) was set up.

Anyway, judging by the recent-ish email to the Natural Cures mailing list, it appears that Lee Kenny is trying to get a good Trudeau-style martyr thing going: "Clearly the information we are providing for free is causing some issues out there." But that's the way the alt-health hucksters roll; the aforementioned Loony C has the martyr thing going too,
even claiming that Big Pharma thugs have shot at him and tried to kill him with a car bomb. In 2012 he was quoted by a natural health blogger as saying, "I have death threats -- about twenty a day -- but I do not have any fear."

In any event, another site called
The Natural Cures Store is still open. It sells all sorts of health frauducts, including those to support the various phases of Katie's infamous "Weight Loss Cure." But it claims not to be connected with Katie or his companies in any way. (Prolly like the GIN Store is a separate entity from GIN... sort of, anyway.)
The NaturalCuresStore.com is dedicated to bringing you high quality products recommended by Kevin Trudeau and health care practitioners, Dr. Thomas Hohn [a Leonard Coldwell buddy ~CC], Dr. James Rotello and others.

The NaturalCuresStore.com is in
no way affiliated with these health care practitioners, nor with Kevin Trudeau, Natural Cures, Inc. or Alliance Publishing
.

We are just the a "One-Stop-Shopping" store for all the products recommended in his various books and newsletters.


Although we do not know Mr. Trudeau personally, nor agree with all of his conclusions, we appreciate his labors in bringing such valuable information to the public.

Items sold on the site include all sorts of cleanses, including a "Heavy Metal Cleanse" (I don't think it involves music, though), a "Colon Cleanse," and something called "Dr. Coldwell's Stress Reducing System" for $99.99, which is also listed in the site's Bookstore.

On the promo page for the Coldwell product, we're told that "Dr." Coldwell of Germany has "treated over 35,000 cancer patients, and has the highest cure rate in Germany. That's a version of his amazing bio that has been published elsewhere on the Net as well. It is, as you may have noticed, somewhat different from
his other common claim, which is that he cured over 35,000 cancer patients, "many in a terminal state," and has the highest cure rate in the world. But like most narratives in Scamworld, Loony's stories have never been consistent.

The Natural Cures Store,
which lists one T. Payne of Dover, Idaho as the registrant and admin contact, doesn't seem to be wildly popular. But I guess it -- and the official NaturalCures.com social media sites -- will have to do till the NaturalCures.com main site comes back...if that ever happens.

That's it for now, and I'll be back soon with some more substantial fare.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Kevin Trudeau: passport pleas and a piss-poor movie

So goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Where the scammers and predators howl
They've planted me in the jailhouse
There isn't much to do now

Maybe you'll get a replacement
There's plenty like me all around
Predators hungry for money
Sniffing for marks, who are easily found.

With
apologies to Bernie Taupin, Elton John, et al.


Even though he's behind bars, serial scammer Kevin Trudeau continues to provide entertainment for those of us who are easily amused -- even if he provides it unwittingly or in the most tangential way. But before we get to the rollicking fun, I should mention that as of the time I'm publishing this, people who object to the sale of the Global Information Network (GIN) assets to AXS Investment Group (or AXS Consulting, LLC) -- a group consisting of some of Kevin's bestest, most loyal buddies -- have less than an hour to file their objections with the court. Deadline is today (Monday, May 12, 2014) at 5:00 PM Central Daylight Time. I'll keep you posted.

Mama mia, Katie wants his passaporto!

Last week I found out,
and shared on Facebook, that Katie wants his passports back -- both his U.S. and Italiano passports. Or his lawyer does, anyway. The lawyer filed a motion with Judge Guzman's court on Thursday, May 8. Maybe it's for sentimental reasons. Or maybe Katie wants to put them in a scrapbook or on a vision board. Except I think they probably don't have scrapbooking and vision boards at the MCC.
Click to enlarge.

The gummit has till tomorrow, May 13, to respond to this motion. Katie's lawyers will be in court this Thursday, May 15, at 9:30 AM to present Katie's passport plea before Judge Guzman.


Naturally we are having some fun with this on Facebook. My friend Bernie O'Mahony of
GINtruth.com wrote, "Maybe he needs them in order to get from Cell Block B, to Cell Block D?" Tim Donohoe wrote: "In an unrelated motion, his lawyer has asked for his release from prison pending his appeal. Nothing to see here." In a subsequent remark Tim wrote, "Another idea is that maybe his lawyer needs access to some offshore accounts when his next bill is due."

I thought that there might be a specially infused seekrit magnetic strip in the passports that can override the biometry
in that biometric safe in Zurich where all sorts of seekrit things are hidden. As you may recall, last year Katie told the courts that he couldn't surrender his passports because they were in that safe in Zurich, but a little while later the passports mysteriously turned up anyway in Chicago. But suppose they really do contain some magickal seekrit strip and can help open that safe. What manner of treasure may be hidden therein? Next up: court docs demanding that whoever has his $6,400 cufflinks return them to his lawyers immediately.

By the way, on that passport motion Katie's lawyer, Thomas Kirsch, got the date of his client's criminal conviction wrong. It was November 12, 2013, not November 7, 2014. November 7, 2014 hasn't happened yet. But I guess I am not too surprised that Kirsch would get that detail wrong; he was the one who bungled Katie's criminal trial
by opening with that lame "cheesy moon" argument, and later on in the trial he and his team made the judge kind of mad.

UPDATE 13 May:
The government responded with an opposition to Kirsch's motion. Here is a link to that document. The government points out that the usual procedure with convicted criminals is to return their U.S. passports to the State Department, and any foreign passports to Homeland Security. It hasn't been done yet but the government expects that to happen. It also points out that by the time Trudeau is out on supervised release, his passports will have expired anyway.

UPDATE 15 May: Motion denied. Judge Guzman agrees with gummit and thinks that giving the passports to a third party might constitute a security risk. Here's that doc. (Note: I incorrectly titled the document 05-15-14; it was actually filed on 05-14-14.)

I still have to wonder why the lawyers wanted the passports badly enough to file a motion. But maybe this is much ado about little; perhaps it is just a routine thing for criminal lawyers to file to get all of their clients' documents back from Pretrial Services. Or... maybe Katie needs his passports to return to Oz.


Good buy Yellow Brick Road? Well, not so much.
The long-awaited animated movie, Legends of Oz:Dorothy's Return, was finally released theatrically across the US on Friday, May 9. This project was one of the "investment opportunities" offered by a couple of GIN members to other GIN members. My friend John Foster, an ex-Katie fan, former founding member of GIN and author of a new book about his GIN experiences and the scam GIN was, wrote on Facebook, "Investors spent around $100 million and [the movie] is opening in 1800 movie theaters. If it makes money it will be the first GIN opportunity that was promoted that made money."

There was a lot of skepticism about this movie when the discussions came up on Facebook last year, and one reason for the skepticism -- beyond the obvious fact that the "investment" op was being offered within the framework of GIN -- was that the folks involved with the production firms, Summertime Entertainment and Alpine Productions, have been involved in some dodgy business deals and have had some complaints made against them (more on that in a moment).
People were even getting spam phone calls from folks asking them to invest in the project. (Here is another link about that, from the same thread.)

But now that the project has indeed come to fruition, I would like to know if any of the GIN members who "invested" -- either the ones originally offering the opportunity to GIN members, or anyone else in GIN who took advantage of the "opportunity" -- will actually be making any money from the movie. My email box is open!


Of course they are buzzing about it
on the GIN Facebook pages: "In case you are not aware, a group of GIN Members utilized their training to help manifest the money to partially fund this movie."

Um-kay. But will they make any of that money back? Or was that even their intention in the first place? Inquiring minds want to know. I don't even know how to begin to pursue this matter because I don't think I ever knew the names of the GIN members who were pushing it. Can anyone help?


Brief update: A person in the know sent me a message clarifying that the Oz movie had nothing to do with GIN (which I knew), but the connection was simply that there was one GIN member pitching the project from the time he joined. He was able to pull a little money from a few members but nothing major. My source noted that on a conference call last week, Chris "Voldemort" McGarahan (one of the members of the group who is buying GIN) apparently gave GIN credit for raising all of the money for the film production -- which isn't even close to true, but even if it had been...well, it was nothing to brag about. And that gives this story double snarkitude points: for the fact that the GINvestors are claiming credit that they don't deserve, as well as for the fact that the movie they're taking so much credit for is an embarrassment (see next paragraph). Nice job, guys! [NOTE: See May 13 updates and addenda below. ~CC]
 

In any case the GINvestors who pitched in a few bucks should be very proud of themselves, because the movie is just getting splendid reviews. That is, if you define "splendid" as being "[An] eyeball-gougingly ugly, charm-free animated musical sequel, which is inexplicably opening in thousands of theaters instead of going direct to video." Or a movie that feels "like the cheaply made knockoffs you find in a dollar store: garishly shiny, flimsy and not built to last." As another reviewer wrote, "The bricks are still yellow, but the road doesn't lead anywhere special."

My friend Kenneth, another ex GIN member, said he went to see a movie this weekend but the show he wanted to see had sold out for the show time he wanted. He inquired about other movies and was told that aside from Spiderman, which only had a few tickets remaining, Legends of Oz had only a handful of people in it. "Needless to say, people had no interest in it whatsoever," he noted.


THIS JUST IN: Record breaking lousy debut at the box office (even worse than Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil)
.

But it's all sweetness and light on the official pages: the one for
Summertime Entertainment and for Legends of Oz.

Still, there were hard feelings along the way to production and release, as I suppose there often are in the movie biz.
Someone wrote a nasty note to Ripoff Report in October 2012.

And guess who wrote the rebuttal? One Marc J. Lane, whose law firm represented Summertime's Ryan and Roland Carroll and the production team behind the film.

As you may recall from reading this Whirled and various court documents and forums, Marc Lane was the asset protection lawyer who, as it happens, was hugely instrumental in helping Katie create and structure GIN.

Marc participated in social media buzz about the film while it was in production last year.
He was responding to this March 2013 post on "The Royal Blog of Oz," an Oz enthusiast blog. (By the way, after the fanfare on that blog, the actual movie review by one of the blog's team members was kind of anti-climactic.)

Marc also participated in one of the discussions about the spam phone calls that I mentioned above. Here's another page on that scam phone call thread. (It's basically the same spiel he wrote on the Ripoff Report thread.)

But Marc has been curiously silent about the movie on Facebook since its release, but he has "liked" several Oz-movie related pages... among other things. My goodness.


I can't say that I think Marc is a bad guy. I mean, lots of folks like porn; I don't think that's really that big a deal as long as it all involves consenting human adults. Besides, maybe the porn site people are clients of his. Or maybe a mischievous member of his household got into his Facebook account and "liked" that naughty page. There could be any number of explanations.

And judging from some of his Facebook posts Marc has a social conscience, or at least wants to make it appear that he does. In fact, when it comes to several issues regarding social and economic justice he appears to be embracing a side that is contrary to that embraced by most of the one percent. I like that in a person. But I have to wonder what sort of "conscience" or moral compass allowed him to participate so extensively in helping Kevin Trudeau create a scammy scheme such as GIN. I'm told by those who seem to be in a position to know that Marc gave Kevin sound advice that was well within legal frameworks, but that Kevin chose to ignore a lot of it and did as he pleased, and that was what caused all the trouble. I'm only halfway buying that. Because, really... Kevin Trudeau? Well-known lifelong scammer? Seriously, Marc, what were you thinking?

At any rate, my understanding is that various investigations are still ongoing. I've alternately been told that Marc isn't out of the woods yet regarding the Trudeau investigations, and that he is out of the woods because he cooperated with the Feds and didn't do anything with criminal intent. That story is still unfolding. I know only small parts of it and have reported what I know.

But I would not be surprised to learn that Marc Lane may have somehow been involved in the push for GIN members to invest in that animated boondoggle. If anyone has any insights into this I'll be glad to add that info to this post, and of course you can remain anon if you wish.

Speaking of Oz, which also happens to be another name for Australia, I wonder if the investigators were ever able to uncover any more of
Katie's hidden assets Down Under, which the receivers were going on and on about last September.

And partly because my mind is jumping around all over the place today, but mostly because so many of these stories are interrelated in some way (because they are all part of the same, much larger and grimmer story), I'm reminded of another Oz character and Katie b.f.f., the late Rene Rivkin, who offed himself in 2005 and whose assets were also mysteriously hidden. He and Katie had a few things going together, for a while.

I think the authorities finally gave up looking for Rene's riches. But something tells me that if the right authorities did a little more digging, they might be able to find some more Rivkin assets as well as some more Katie assets -- in some cases, maybe even under the same rocks.
[Although someone who knew Rivkin just told me that it's very doubtful if he had anything left, which may have been one reason he ended his life. Tragic story, there.] Anyway, I really should get off of my duff and finish that half-finished Rivkin post that's been in the hopper for a year or so. But I'll leave you with a pretty picture for now -- Rene and Katie and someone else (maybe one of you can tell me who it is?) in happier days. Rub-a-dub-dub!



Update: Someone just tipped me off that the other guy in the tub is the UK's Andrew Malcher, currently of High Street TV, "the leading multi channel retailer of direct response TV products." Here's a July 2012 article about him in the UK's Financial Times). From the article:
If the mark of a great retailer is not selling you what you want but selling you what you didn’t know you wanted, Andrew Malcher must be a great retailer.
And here's a November 2013 article about High Street and Alliance Health Care signing a lucrative As Seen On TV-ish agreement. High Street has also signed deals with Disney and Hasbro.

So Andrew is basically an infomercial mogul. My correspondent says he's a super nice guy.



More updates and addenda, 13-14 May 2014:
Return to Oz...
Since I published my post yesterday, I've heard from a couple of people. I inserted a brief update in the body of the original post above (in green text), but here's more.


One person wrote to me:
The name of the [GIN member pushing the investment in the Oz movie] is John King. He is listed as one of the Co-Executive Producers. If gin people raised more than $1M I would be impressed. There were a bunch who invested, but gin wouldn't have had anything to do with it other than John pitching it to people he met there.
The movie may stink but I wouldn't hold any negativity toward it because of GIN.
Another friend, an ex-GIN member, wrote to me, also mentioning John King, who was the head of his local GIN chapter:
He is an executive producer on the film. ...I got to know him and his wife pretty well.

He never pitched the movie to any of the GIN folks in [our local] group, as far as I know.  And he and his wife seemed like pretty nice folks.

Apparently he was in great despair, with a failing career and marriage (this is public knowledge as he said it on stage), when he came across Your Wish Is Your Command.  He truly believes that GIN and KT turned his life around.  As far as I can tell, he is not simply a sociopath, nor do I think he sought any gain other then typical commissions and the chance to go "Hollywood."

There WAS misleading info.  On stage he implied that HE had raised 100 million for the film.
In a subsequent email my friend wrote:
...We were all impressed by his Platinum status and by the fact that he had raised millions of dollars as a venture capitalist, under the GIN rubric, to "make" a movie. One takes a person for their word, or should.  And words can mean everything and nothing.  When someone states, "we just raised the most money in the history of independent films, $100 million, I just got word as we were boarding the ship"... and if that person is someone whose house you had visited, and whose friendship you wanted, why wouldn't you trust them?
Why, indeed? Well, at least my friend wasn't suckered into investing in this lemon. What I find interesting is that according to THIS article (which I also linked to above), Summertime Entertainment says they spent only $70 mil on production, and the author of the piece speculated that they may have been exaggerating because "smaller production companies often inflate budgets to make a production appear more legitimate." So where did that other $30 mil or so go? Well, maybe to promotions and parties -- who knows. If I were a GINvestor, though, I'd be asking some serious questions rather than crowing about this bloated cartoon on their Facebook pages.

Anyhow, as far as I am concerned, the Whirled angles specifically in regard to the movie remain the same:

  1. Some GIN folk are taking undue credit for this flick
  2. It's a stinker -- so those who invested and are so GIN-proud of it probably won't see any decent ROI... meaning that once again GIN fell flat as a networking op.
In other words: I am not the one who spiked this insipid punch with GIN. Various GINfolk did this themselves.

Then there is the Marc J Lane connection, however tenuous it may be. As noted on my post, Marc was hugely instrumental in helping Katie structure GIN to hide money from the Feds. It's all there in the court docs. Marc was also an attorney for the production companies responsible for the Oz debacle -- and he even wrote a rebuttal on their behalf on Ripoff Report, threatening to sue the anonymous complainant for defamation. It could, of course, all just be a big fat coincidence.
Or it could be something as simple as a common hometown connection. Marc is a Chicago lawyer and Summertime Entertainment's Carroll brothers were born, raised, and went to school in the Windy City. Maybe they all knew each other from back in the day. As I said, I welcome insights from others.

By the way, the friend I quoted at length above also reminded me that a Trudeau entity called TruStar Productions, Inc. -- an enterprise in which Marc Lane was also involved -- had invested in a failed movie project called Hellbenders. It was noted in the Receiver's Third Report (17 March 2014), and I mentioned it on this blog post.

You can find a lot more about the Trudeau/Lane/TruStar relationship -- and their other business relationships -- in various court documents, such as Document #713 from Katie's civil case, filed on July 15, 2013, titled, "PLAINTIFF'S PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW." I've written about and inked to this before,
but here's a handy link on the receiver's web site.


For more, check out this link and the individual name links on Advanced Background Checks. 

Not surprisingly, on Marc's Wiki page there is no mention whatsoever of Trudeau or any of the Trudeau entities, or of Marc's involvement in this high-profile case. A shame, that, since Marc worked so hard on his client's behalf, including trying to get data under the Freedom of Information Act regarding some of the ongoing investigations of the various Katie companies. Here's some interesting correspondence from 2011 and 2012. It's in .txt format and you'll need to scroll down to the bottom and work your way up.
 
I have put all of this on my Whirled and have included links in order to raise legitimate questions and encourage others with more resources than I have to continue the investigations.

At any rate -- getting back to the current cinematic flop -- here are some more links. This one handily lists all the major folks involved in the Oz project:
http://www.screendaily.com/reviews/the-latest/legends-of-oz-dorothys-return/5071489.article

Here is John King's Facebook page. He doesn't seem to be very active, except for a few nods to the Oz project, which currently dominates his cover photo and profile pic:
https://www.facebook.com/john.king.14019338

Here's John King's IMDB link, which links back to the IMDB page for the project: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6359182/

Here's John King's stik.com link:
http://www.stik.com/king_john2

And
here is a link to Elevate Entertainment, one of whose principals claims to have been involved with John's "110 million dollar private equity raise" for the Oz movie.
Natalie King - CEO
After graduating cum laude with a degree in Finance from Jacksonville University, Natalie moved to Los Angeles to work with Executive Producer Greg Centineo and Co-Executive Producer John King on a 110 million dollar private equity raise for an upcoming movie Franchise titled Legends of Oz - Dorothy’s return. It is set to be released worldwide in May 2014...

...Natalie enjoys bringing her analytical and creative side to develop powerful content that will reach a diverse audience.
But wait... there's more! Other peeps are claiming credit along with John King for raising some of those millions for the Oz thing. Here's one Franco Rosado, who describes himself as a "Youth Empowerment Specialist," on Linkedin:
Excited to be brokering our first motion picture deal with Mr. John King and Summertime Entertainment COMING SOON - MAY 9TH - OVER 3000 THEATERS LEGENDS OF OZ, DOROTHY RETURNS (3D Animation Film) MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! We raised the $5 million needed for our film! Stay tuned for more to come! Franco Rosado CEO, Deep Sea Innertainment Youth Empowerment Specialist [email and phone number redacted ~CC]
So I'm sure there's a whole tangled story here. I don't know much about the film biz, but what I do know is that many movies go through a long and sometimes contentious process in their journey to release. So no doubt there were a lot of the normal Hollywood egos and financial struggles, which ordinarily would not interest me all that much. But when there is even a marginal Scamworld connection --- when, in other words, it intersects with my beat in some way -- you can bet your last flying monkey that I will jump on it, especially if it's a slow news day.

By the way, here is the link to page 1 of what is currently a 15-page, five-and-a-half-year-long thread about the efforts to get people to invest in the Oz movie (I linked to a few pages in this thread above). http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-818-909-6800.

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