Friday, September 27, 2013

37 million balloons? SNAG circle med for Kevin Trudeau

Here's a YouTube vid of a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy/Gal) circle meditation recently performed for serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, apparently in anticipation of his September 26 court hearing. In this meditation the participants are asked to envision Kevin walking out of that hearing in triumph. They are invited to visualize 37 million balloons (representing those 37 million dollars he owes the FTC) going POOF! and disappearing. They are encouraged to imagine -- and by doing so to create -- a scenario in which he is completely exonerated, all charges are dismissed, all fines are canceled... a scenario that ends with Katie emerging victorious at the GIN Family Reunion in Washington DC. I'm thinking a Return of the King scene, but without Hobbits and Elves.

The video was put on YouTube on September 24, presumably to spread the good vibe and help send out positive energy to Katie. The instructions -- and the meditation -- are simple enough.
Just a keep saying this whenever you have a spare moment in your heads...


"I Love the Love of God in my soul...and
I Love the Love of God in Judge Gettleman's soul."

"I Love the Love of God in my soul...and
I Love the Love of God in Robb Evans & Associates souls."

"I Love the Love of God in my soul...and
I Love the Love of God in Kenton Johnson & Brick Kane's soul."

"I Love the Love of God in my soul...and
I Love the Love of God in Thomas L. Kirsch's soul."

"I Love the Love of God in my soul...and
I Love the Love of God in the Federal Trade Commission."
So, did the meditation work?

Well, Katie didn't get thrown in the clink on September 26, as some of his loudest detractors had been hoping. But he's far from off the hook. He got his allowance taken away -- for now, at least, though according to court docs filed on September 27, 2013, he and the FTC are still quibbling over details. According to an ABC News report filed on the evening of September 26, the receiver is leaning towards agreeing with the FTC that coercive incarceration might be just the ticket to shake some more bucks out of Katie. And he's due back in court on Tuesday, October 1, or possibly later, if the government gets shut down (see link to the September 27 court docs in the sentence above). Although I don't think he belongs in jail, jail seems to be looming ever closer. It's pretty certain that he won't be at the Family Reunion, should that event actually take place.

Here's the really sad part. While Kevin currently seems quite desperate and at this point might welcome prayers or meditations or magickal chants or even lucky charms or ePendants, I am pretty sure that when he was riding high he would have scoffed at this kind of stuff. I think that in their heart of hearts, at least some of these folks know this. (The guy in the purple shirt and hat looks a little cynical, if you ask me. I can't say I blame him.)

These people seem like sweet and well-meaning folks who are totally wasting their energy on someone who wouldn't give them the time of day under ordinary circumstances -- and indeed, would call them losers.

And he might be calling them losers even now. I can just hear Katie grumbling to his attorneys, "F--k the meditation. Why don't those losers send me some f-----g money?"

(I confess that I am also having flashbacks from my days of hanging around people like this, which I did for years. It was hanging around people like this that made me who I am today: the ironically Cosmic Connie, creator of this Whirled.)

Yet people such as these represent a significant and growing force in American spiritual life, and it's easy to see how Kevin pandered to them through GIN. (And for the record, I don't think they're losers. I think they've just been bamboozled by an expert bamboozler.)

Here's the direct YouTube link, in case you want to make comments. Be nice, though. These folks may be fragile and brainwashed.

Clicking on the pic above won't lead you to the video,
but WILL provide an enlarged view.

Sadly, these meditators seem to be demonstrating the very type of gullibility that will make them an easy target for the next scammer to come down the pike. This willingness to believe, this deep but misplaced emotional and spiritual hunger -- along with the unwillingness to make "negative" judgments -- will keep Scamworld and the big sick machine fueled for many years to come. Kevin may fade away, GIN may die, but there will always be other scams and other scammers, and hungry, eternally hopeful people to take the bait.

"And so it is."

* * * * *
Some people have expressed puzzlement about whether the above meditation is actually typical GIN practice. Others who have been in GIN say they never saw things like that and it isn't part of the GIN teachings. Judging by what one of the women in the video said towards the beginning, it seems obvious that this is a vid of a private "mastermind" group of GIN folks with new-age beliefs -- and the two ringleaders, particularly the gray-haired woman leading the meditation, seem to have years if not decades of experience with metaphysical practices and belief systems.

Through GIN, Kevin chose to target this demographic as well as numerous others. And he certainly exploited new-agey concepts such as "vibrations," the "law of attraction," and so forth -- and also took full advantage of people's superstitions and their tendency to embrace  magical thinking. In fact he has been practicing this sort of exploitation for many years through his promotion of various frauducts, but he brought it all together into one toxic blend in GIN.

I imagine that a more Christian-oriented GIN "mastermind" group might have a more traditional prayer circle and perhaps would implore Jesus H. Christ to help poor Katie. And maybe they have; we just haven't seen the video yet. The point is that people bring their own belief systems and practices to the table and integrate them into GIN as they see fit. And as indicated above, many people who were drawn to GIN experienced GIN from a new-agey perspective.

Not surprisingly, the GIN circle med has been a source of mirth on the "GIN Destroyer" Facebook page.

It's amusing to see the so-called GIN destroyers and their followers jeering at the new-age meditators for their touchy-feely and ritualistic way of trying to help Kevin. I know they are mostly jeering because they think the meditators are deluded for believing that Katie is a good guy or that their meditation will get their fearless leader out of this big mess. But the "destroyers" and some of the others as well also seem to be slamming the very idea of this ritual, as if it is some crazy thing only performed by people who are mentally disturbed. They seem to be ignoring, or ignorant of, the larger cultural and historical context.

The reality is that lots of people perform these types of rituals for all sorts of reasons both trivial and momentous, whether through meditation, visualization, or prayer. And they have been doing so for centuries. Moreover, the type of meditation that you see in the video above encompasses ideas that have become much more mainstream within the past few years.

I also recall that in 2011 the chief GIN destroyer had joined
a Kansas City Wiccan and Pagan meetup group just so he could recruit them for GIN (the group's member profiles are now apparently closed to non-members, but some of his other profile pages indicate that he is still a member of this group, and that his interests include "meditation" and "energy healers"). And someone screen-capped his Wiccan group profile some time ago.

The point is that anyone who knows any Wiccans/Pagans knows that many of them are very much into rituals and chanting and circles and so forth. Some are solitary practitioners and some prefer groups, but rituals (and for some, spells) are a pretty big thing. In addition, Abe totes Rhonda Byrne's works around like a talisman, and recommends them, and her work is specifically geared to appeal to the very type of people we see in the circle-med video.

So I feel that our GIN destroyer is snarking from, at best, a place of ignorance or at the very least extreme shortsightedness. He's focusing on the fact that the meditators are trying to help Kevin Trudeau, and he is ignoring the fact that perhaps without fully realizing it, he has on several occasions promoted exactly the same kind of mindset these new-agers are demonstrating.

As for Loony Coldwell, he's up to his usual disgusting antics (or rant-ics), calling the meditators mentally retarded cult members, saying that they're broke or are trailer trash, and saying they have no sex lives. (He seems obsessed with sex and with proving to the world that he's a real player. But as many know, the truth is not nearly so glamorous.)

By now, it's easy to see the wheels turning in that nefarious little skull of his. He takes every opportunity to point out examples of what he sees as brainwashing and Jonestown-ish behavior so he can flog his own"anti-brainwashing" fiddle-faddle.

Not that I'm letting the meditators off the hook; it's just that I'm looking at their actions from a broader perspective. I will say that one of the eye-rolling things I saw in the video was that the meditators betray their own type of ignorance -- perhaps a willful ignorance -- of the legal trouble Kevin is in. They stumble over the name of the judge overseeing the civil case, they express confusion about the FTC's involvement, they seem to totally ignore the looming criminal trial with Judge Guzman (although I realize that they were specifically focusing on the outcome for the upcoming civil hearing with Judge Gettleman).

Their ignorance and blind spots are not really all that surprising, and seem characteristic of a cultish mindset that is often seen, and not just in new-age circles. (And any one of us is susceptible to being fooled by an expert con artist, given the right circumstances.) Even so, in light of the fact that they do seem to be new-agers, they seem to be as good an illustration as any of some of the more serious issues with new-age culture in general, which I've written about here before, and mentioned in the section above: the positivity mindset and the general mandate to be "non-judgmental." New-age culture encourages people to willingly suspend negative opinions along with general disbelief, and just "go with the flow." The emperor is fully dressed, by golly!

However -- and here's where I most definitely differ with the jeering group whose screenshots appear above -- some of the ex-GIN don't seem to realize that
the phony "doctor" they are following, and to whom they now look for guidance, is many times worse, in many ways, than Kevin Trudeau.

As noted, I realize that the "non-judgmental" mindset is not limited to new-age culture or cults, but since the early 1980s or even before, new-agers seem to have raised it to new and often ludicrous (and sometimes dangerous) levels. It seems to me that one of the most extreme examples (besides, perhaps, James Arthur Ray and his deadly sweat lodge) was
a certain most-wanted war criminal who was able to disguise himself as a new-age healer for years.

But the SNAG circle med above? It is not "the depths of madness" (as one participant in the above mentioned forum described it), any more than any other ritual practiced by well meaning if misguided people on behalf of a beloved leader or cause. It may be the height of folly, but it is not the depth of madness. On the other hand, following someone like Loony Coldwell... now, THAT'S getting closer to the edge of the insanity abyss.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

'Til Tuesday is more than just the name of an 80s rock band

Kevin Trudeau will NOT go to jail on September 26.
Loony Coldwell is not happy. (Click to enlarge.)

Oh, dear me. Kevin Trudeau's court hearing -- that thing I was just going on about a little while ago -- has been continued 'til Tuesday, October 1. The imaginary Bubba that has Kevin's loudest and looniest detractors salivating is just going to have to wait a little while longer. Perhaps indefinitely. [See updates below. This really does keep changing. ~CC]

It seems that another "final nail" turns out to be a broken thumb tack.

But you know what that means: let the fake lawsuits begin! Watch your back, Robb Evans, Kenton Johnson, Blair Zanzig, Judge Gettleman, and the FTC! "Real justice" is...ah... coming up close. Or at least the Three Stooges are. Watch out for Moe and his hammer. Here's part of a Facebook exchange from September 24 (click to enlarge, of course)...

I'll have the latest court docs as soon as they are available. [Note: See PS below. ~CC]

For now, there's this from James Hill at ABC News, via Nightline. One big piece of news -- apparently overlooked by a certain ranting lunatic who was supposedly monitoring the hearing more closely than anyone else -- is that Judge Gettleman decided to suspend Katie's modest-by-Katie-standards monthly allowance, an issue that we've snarked about a few times on this Whirled, including here. Writes Hill:

"It's not that I want Mr. Trudeau to starve and be homeless," U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman said. "But when the orders of this court are constantly being violated, willfully violated, this has to be brought to a head. It's not going to be pretty." 

Also noteworthy: the receiver is reportedly starting to agree with the FTC that throwing Trudeau in jail might be the best chance of recovering assets.
For the first time since taking the job seven weeks ago, the court-appointed receiver agreed with the FTC that incarcerating Trudeau offered the best chance of recovering assets, citing ongoing concerns with Trudeau's "troubling credibility issues."
It would appear that Katie is running out of friends. Even Judge Gettleman has jail on his mind, according to the ABC report.
Though Judge Gettleman decided against sending Trudeau back to jail, he was very openly considering it. He ordered Trudeau back next week for another hearing and warned him that he "was very close to being exactly where the [FTC] wants him. You reach a point where there is nothing else to do."
Anyway, we'll know more in a few days...maybe.

Meanwhile for your amusement, here's Loony Coldwell, who, instead of popping the champagne, seems to be munching on the sour grapes. He does seem to have an obsession with gayness. Not that there's anything wrong with that! But it does seem that he's stretching the point a bit by suggesting that Judge Gettleman is gay and has the hots for Kevin. Loony is obsessed with sex, though, which is probably why he made up the lie that I am a former prostitute with AIDS.
Click to enjoy the hilarity at full size.
Since Coldwell brought up the subject of multiple passports,
one wonders how many passports Bernd Witchner/Bernd Klein/Leonard Coldwell has.

Aside from my amusement over Loony's misguided rage, I have to wonder why he and his little buddy Abe overlooked what seemed like rather significant developments in the latest hearing, since they were supposedly monitoring the proceedings "live." Maybe the monitoring was via their buddy Peter Wink, who resides in the Chicago area. Maybe Peter just takes lousy notes. But Loony was one of the first to announce the news of the continuance, so he got something right. I suppose that after that, he and Abe were so busy being outraged that Kevin hadn't been thrown to Bubba, and that GIN hadn't been shut down once and for all (as both Loony and Abe had been predicting nonstop) that they forgot to "look for the gold!" Fortunately there are responsible journalists who are following this story and keeping it alive.

Here's a thread that was on Abe's page but now seems to be missing in action (maybe it's still there but my friends can't see it any more).

If it is gone, I wonder if it was deleted because Abe was embarrassed by being shown up once again as having overlooked some important news. Or maybe he got spooked about the consequences of making the accusations he made. Or maybe both. (Of course, if the thread is actually still there, but my pals just can't see it... then never mind.)

I also have to wonder when the "GIN Action" goofballs are going to accept the reality of this situation, which is the reality of Scamworld, which I've been repeating for the past year like a mantra...

 "No neat and tidy endings!"

PS added September 27 ~ Lacking a Facebook post from Abe about the "gold" in the latest hearings, I would have expected a video, but his most recent video, made earlier today, is about how GIN is going Hollywood because some film production company has contacted him to be a "consultant" on a movie they are considering doing about Kevin Trudeau. Not a peep in his September 27 vid about Kevin having his allowance cut off, or the receiver appearing to come around to the FTC's side. However, at, Bernie as usual has pertinent commentary and more hilarious graphics.

Also, here are two court documents filed on September 27. The only document filed on September 26 and immediately accessible was a one-page minute entry granting the FTC's motion to modify the receivership document regarding Katie's monthly allowance. [See update immediately below.]

PPS added October 3 ~ Today
I found a "missing" court document from this civil court case. I retrieved this one not from PACER but from the Robb Evans and Associates (receiver) web site. Though filed in the courts on September 26, it was apparently only uploaded to the receiver's site on October 1, and was not even visible on the docket on PACER. That's why I mistakenly stated above that the only document filed on September 26 was a minute entry.

This is the actual order that Judge Gettleman on September 26. As you know from reading the post above, as well as other previous and subsequent posts, that was the hearing for which some of Kevin's loudest and looniest detractors held out such high hopes of Katie being thrown in jail and GIN being shut down once and for all. That didn't happen, of course; the hearing was continued and as of this writing is set for October 16. The delays are due to the government shutdown, which has crippled the FTC and its attorneys.

As noted above, this doc isn't even listed on the court docket yet, or at least it wasn't when I checked yesterday evening. I had noticed that there was a number missing in the sequence, and wondered exactly what was missing. Now I know. It is Document 760: "ORDER ON FTC’S MOTION TO MODIFY THE AUGUST 7, 2013 ORDER TO TERMINATE TRUDEAU’S PERSONAL EXPENSE ALLOWANCE."

Besides terminating the allowance for now (until further order of the court), the judge also notes that Katie violated several orders (some of which listed in subsequent court docs, already shared here) -- and he said that the consequences will be discussed at the next hearing. Sounds pretty ominous. You'll notice that on this document the hearing is listed as being set for Oct. 4, so the doc must have been generated (or modified) after the FTC filed its emergency motion to move the hearing from Oct. 1 to later in the week.

In this same document we see that the judge is also denying Katie's request to travel outside of the jurisdiction (Northern District of Illinois) until and unless he pays back (to the receivership estate) all of the money he spent -- or transferred -- in violation of the court orders. I don't know for sure how much out-of-jurisdiction traveling he did or tried to do since he was last restricted, but apparently this is still an issue.

By the way, if all goes according to schedule and the main part of their work has not been affected by the very recent government shutdown, the receiver's next monthly report should be due on or about October 7.

Click to enlarge.
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Kevin Trudeau is back in court while "GIN Action" figures stand by with lawsuit threats

Big day in court for Kevin Trudeau!
An end to two CENTURIES of crime!
So says Loony Coldwell, ex Trudeau buddy (click to enlarge).

As I am posting this, serial scammer Kevin Trudeau is back in Judge Robert Gettleman's court room to work out some issues and determine, among other things, whether or not he will have to go back to jail for another lesson in being not-scared straight.

This is presumably a Big Day In Court for Kevin, and Kevin's ex-b.f.f., Mocktor Loony Coldwell, is so excited he is about to wet himself. Today, he says, will be the end of two centuries of crime (it's right there in the pic above). My, Kevin must be much older than I thought.

Continued from last week, today's hearing will determine several things, according to the judge's order of September 19, which I shared last week
on this post. (Here is the direct link.) One big point that will determine whether or not Judge Gettleman tosses Katie back in the clink is "whether he has taken sufficient steps to purge himself of the various contempt orders of this court." If Katie and his lawyers can convince the court that he's really being a good boy and trying to cooperate, he more than likely won't go back to jail. (There's still a possible long prison sentence looming re his criminal contempt case, but that doesn't go to trial until November 4.)

The bourbon drinkers and champagne poppers are waiting with baited breath and juicy visions of Bubba and Katie for another excuse to celebrate (they do seem overly obsessed with homosexual jailhouse rapes). There was apparently quite a lot of celebration last week when Kevin was sent for an overnight stay at a Federal facility in Chicago, and there were probably lots of hangovers the next day as he was being released.

Also on tap for today is the issue of the plaintiff's (FTC's) motion to modify the receivership agreement (Doc. 744) so that Katie can't receive his modest monthly allowance unless he gets a real job and contributes to the receivership estate.

And then there are "the other matters raised [at the September 19] hearings." Those "other matters" include some issues -- potentially explosive issues, but I'm not getting excited yet -- that have caused such a ruckus for the past week among the ignorant and the arrogant, and have also caused some buzz among some actual smart people, such as some of the news reporters who were in the courtroom. (It's only because of the buzz from the smart people that I'm giving this any more attention right now.) Towards the end of the hearings last week, the FTC reportedly brought up the question of whether or not the receiver, Robb Evans & Associates, might be running an illegal operation by continuing to keep Trudeau's big scam the Global Information Network (GIN) open while they complete their investigations. This question is so unsurprising as to be yawn-inducing, unless something actually comes of it.

The FTC will of course make any point to build their case, but as I've noted before, the receiver has an obligation to keep all Trudeau entities operational for the time being until and unless it can be proven that an entity is illegal and unprofitable. Then the receiver has to notify the court and the court will decide.

The receiver, also as noted before, has expressed serious doubts about the legality of the GIN MLM but said that further investigation was necessary. The receiver can investigate, report, and make recommendations, and the FTC can make recommendations, and the plaintiff and defendant can file motions until the cows come home -- but it is ultimately up to Judge Gettleman to make the call. Does GIN stay operational for now, or does it go? That's up to the judge.

Loony Coldwell and his band of toadies are making a big deal of this now and are making many hilarious threats to start the lawsuits flying if things don't go their way in court today.
They've actually been on this kick since earlier this month (also see Bernie O's commentary on this), but they are now fairly frothing at the mouth with righteous indignation and demands for "truth" and "justice."

This means that if Judge Gettleman doesn't shut down GIN on the 26th or, at the very least, incarcerate Katie again, Loony is going to stamp his little foot and sue the receiver, the receiver's attorney (Blair Zanzig), the judge... and maybe the FTC, just for good measure. Look, he says so right here, in several Facebook posts from earlier today.

Coldwell seems to be afraid to use the "b" word: BRIBERY.
But that is precisely the accusation he is making.

It's amusing that Loony was so impressed with that Daily Beast article (which, as it happens, I had linked to on last Saturday's blog post), that he even used it in a separate Facebook post to express his righteous indignation. What's so entertaining is that The Beast piece quotes extensively from Dr. Stephen Barrett, who utterly loathes alt-med quacks. In fact it is Trudeau's alt-health "advice" that has most infuriated Dr. Barrett, and has led him to label Trudeau as a con artist.

As for Loony's continual threats that he is going to get
some RICO case going against the receiver and the Feds, using the mighty law firm of Merritt Webb, I think my pal Tim hit it on the head again with this comment on one of the Facebook forums:
To be pedantic, the only thing any private lawyers are capable of (nobody is actually good at it) would be DEFENDING against RICO charges. There isn't a lawyer in the US who could or would risk their reputations [or lives] trying to PROVE a RICO case.
That's probably about right.

Please don't get me wrong. I sympathize with the ex-GIN members who are still owed money or are demanding refunds. Their chance of getting the money owed to them is probably nil by now. Some of them, following bad advice perhaps, have reportedly written to the receiver and asked for their money, and the receiver has referred them to GIN customer service (it seems that this is all the receiver can legally do at this point). Some have duly written to GIN and are passed back to the receiver. If the buck is really being passed back and forth like this, that's truly lame... and shame on the buck-passers, but again, at this point it may be inevitable.

My friend Julie was thoughtful enough to provide this link on one of the Facebook forums. It describes what a receiver really does. As Julie noted:

This is the part Lenny and company don't get:
4. Outstanding sales and purchase orders are not binding on the receiver unless he elects to accept them. As a result, in operating environments, incoming goods should be segregated. This will ensure appropriate treatment of pre- and post-receivership obligations.

For the time being -- and perhaps for the duration -- the ex-GIN wanting their money back may really be SOL. The really pathetic thing is that little lunatics with big promises of big lawsuits aren't the answer either.

Remember, folks, Coldwell pulled this trick last year with the "class action lawsuit" he was going to file back in June of 2012.
I wrote about that here. I also wrote about a lawsuit he had initiated in Germany -- and apparently lost.

Nothing came of that 2012 class-action lawsuit. But Loony did apparently get a lot of names and information for his mailing list, and even now is aggressively recruiting GIN victims for his own
scam du jour. And that's the way it works in Scamworld.

If you haven't been victimized enough by GIN and KT,
here's another chance for you!

In another conversation, my buddy Tim had something else to say that made me think:

I wonder what it would take for the receiver to start trying to begin clawbacks from Mark Hamilton and Brian Baschnagel. If they could get 5 million from each of them, then maybe another million from people like Lenny Coldwell and Peter Ragnar they might find an easier way to collect 37 million than their current tactic of trying to run GIN
That's not a bad idea. In light of the fact that Neo-stinker Mark Hamilton (aka Wallace Ward), and most certainly another top GIN commission earner, Brian B, were responsible for so many thousands of people signing up for GIN and forking over their hard-earned money, it seems to me that hitting these clowns up for some of the money would constitute true justice. There's probably no legal precedent for that, though.

Ragnar had a big downline and lots of influence too. And Loony is one of those who by rights should be forking over as well, since he has boasted that he was responsible for signing up more than 10,000 folks -- and yet has also said that he knew for a very long time that Kevin was dishonest in many ways. Even though he wasn't listed on the receiver report as being one of the top commission earners in GIN -- at least not listed as one individual under his own name (he could have had multiple accounts, for all I know) -- he is still morally if not legally culpable. He seems to think he is fulfilling his moral obligation by grandstanding and posturing about fighting the good fight. But I don't buy it, and anyone who does needs to do some more research.

Anyway, I'll post an update, or perhaps even a separate post, when I hear what happens in court today. Stay tuned...

PS ~ There's also been buzz, as you may have heard, about FBI agents visiting the homes of ex-GIN members who complained about GIN last year. Whether anything comes of that or not remains to be seen. The FBI is always investigating someone or something, and most of the time nothing does come of it. 

PPS ~ Regarding the other court case, there was only one small entry on the criminal docket yesterday...
MINUTE entry before the Honorable Ronald A. Guzman as to Kevin Trudeau:
Status hearing regarding jury selection set for 9/30/2013 at 10:30 AM. 

That's all it said, so I didn't think it was worth uploading a PDF. September 30 is the same day that the replies to the pre-trial motion responses are due.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Will the real fake Gandhi please stand up? And leave?

Faux heroes are everywhere! Click to enlarge.

As most of you who have been following the saga of serial scammer Kevin Trudeau know, he was jailed on September 18, 2013
and was then sprung the next day, with a few conditions. I wrote about it here, of course, and the story has been all over the news media and the blogosphere, with one of the most acerbic commentaries appearing on The Daily Beast. The Beast article quotes Quackwatch's Dr. Stephen Barrett, who, love him or hate him (some don't like him because of his hard line against alt-med), has been a diligent Trudeau critic even longer than I have. (Here's a January 2006 article from the Skeptical Inquirer about the claims in Katie's Natural Cures books and infomercials.)

Needless to say, some of Katie's loudest detractors, not all of whom are necessarily concerned with justice, were disappointed that he got out of jail. But they hold high hopes for a longer stay in the clink after he returns to court on September 26 for a follow-up hearing. For his part, Katie is presumably engaged in trying to convince the court-appointed receiver and the court that he really, really, really is trying to cooperate with the investigative efforts to dig up his hidden assets. The FTC isn't buying it. The judge probably isn't buying it either, but is indulging him for a little while longer.

Anyway. You may be wondering what all of this has to do with Gandhi. Well, in the past year or so, as Trudeau has become a little more desperate in his campaign to get people to give him money so he can go on scamming (he bills his struggle as a FirstAmendment issue and a fight against government tyranny), he has started to play the martyr theme a little more dramatically. On more than one occasion -- in a couple of his videos, for example -- he has compared himself to Jesus H. Christ and to Gandhi. This was good for lots of laughs among his critics.

Here's an October 18, 2012 video
where I know he compared himself to Christ; that bit starts at about 44:00. I don't remember if Gandhi is mentioned in this one or not, but I do know that Trudeau has compared himself to Gandhi, and some of his followers have as well. And in this 2005 article on, he mentions Gandhi as one of his role models.

A little more recently -- earlier this year -- Kevin's ex-marketing guy Peter Wink, using his IBMS Master's Society alias, compared himself to Gandhi. Peter was getting a lot of criticism (and still is), but said he didn't care because it just meant he is successful and the critics are jealous.

I had a bit of fun with that earlier this year, in this post about Peter and Loony Coldwell's poor man's Global Information Network, the IBMS Master's Society (scroll down to "And let's not even get into the fear-mongering, gun-nuttery, and krazy conspiracy theories. On second thought, let's do").

And now Peter is passing on the mantle of Gandhi-dumb to his and Loony's little buddy Abe Husein, which caused a lot of laughs on the Facebooks the other day. Hence the pictorial tribute at the top of the post. I'm still half inclined to believe that Peter was just being facetious and/or was trying to get a rise out of the "haters" and "losers" who long ago figured out that Kevin Trudeau isn't the only -- or even the worst -- scammer in Scamworld. But on the off chance that he was actually serious (or was trying to convince Abe he was serious), it seemed to be worth a cheap shot. I'm not going to let a perfectly good Photoshop op go to waste.

The big question I have is why everyone and his little brother seems to want to be Gandhi. A 2011 bio of him
suggested he wasn't the pure and perfect hero that so many folks seem to think he was. Well, yawn. None of our heroes and heroines is perfect. They are/were only human, after all. And just because Gandhi reportedly slept nekkid with his teenage great-niece, and reportedly thought Mussolini was an okay guy and Hitler was his friend, and reportedly left some of his fellow activists in the lurch on more than one occasion, that doesn't take away from the truly good things he did. But I just thought I'd point this out.
Click to enlarge. Source The Atlantic Wire, March 28, 2011

At any rate, Kevin Trudeau isn't fit to wear Gandhi's diaper, and neither, I'd wager, are most of other folks who have at one time or another compared their own struggles and achievements to those of Gandhi. More to the point, it seems clear to me that Kevin Trudeau isn't the only faux-hero and phony-martyr in Scamworld -- he's just an infinitely smarter and more skilled one than some of his former staff members, ex-b.f.f.s, and unprincipled wannabes. True-dough may be down for now, but he has had a nice long run in Scamworld, and still has thousands of fans. And I would surmise that almost no one is fooled by the goofy Gandhi-invokers and Namaste-sayers who are scrambling to take his place.

PS ~ The caption on the lead graphic is a paraphrase of a widely-quoted Gandhi quotation, "Be the change you wish to see in the world," something that apparently Gandhi never actually said. It's a very nice sentiment but not a real Gandhi-ism. Another fond illusion bites the dust...

For more hilarious updates on the Three Stooges who make up the "GIN justice team," see this post. I just updated it with yet more screen shots.

Bernie weighs in on the latest hilarity as only he can.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Kevin Trudeau: caged for now?

It's cage-a vu all over again for Kevin Trudeau,
but it seems he hasn't run out of options -- yet.

[NOTE: See update at the end of this article. Spoiler alert (in the unlikely event that you hadn't heard): Katie is out of the clink for now. ~CC]

According to NBC5 Chicago, reporting earlier today, Judge Robert Gettleman has ordered serial scammer Kevin Trudeau to go to jail -- at least long enough to meet with the receiver and finally reveal everything about his finances. There was a bit of a flap the other day about that whole financial-revelation issue, as the receiver revealed that Katie was still trying to live large, and was playing around with a bank account in Australia.

The NBC story reports that Judge Gettleman let Katie know that this is real life, not an infomercial, and Katie can't talk his way out of this one. Judge Gettleman says he now regrets not sending Katie to the clink earlier.

A follow-up hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, September 19.

Here is Judge Gettleman's order to incarcerate Trudeau until someone can shake money and/or info out of him.

As many may recall,
this same judge ordered Katie to jail back in 2010, during that contempt issue stemming from a deluge of letters Katie's supporters sent to the judge. Kevin was able to talk his way out of that one, or at least his lawyers were. But the stakes are higher and the issues a bit more serious this time. And the judge has clearly run out of patience. After all, he has been dealing with Kevin's shenanigans for many years now. (Here's more about Judge Gettleman and his general background.)

Even so, don't count Katie out yet. He may not actually be in a jail cell right now at this very moment. According to today's court order, he will be a guest at Chicago's
Metropolitan Correctional Center (aka the MCC), at least until his hearing at 11:00 AM on the 19th. The MCC has been home to several "notable inmates," according to Wiki.

Here's the link to the main Wiki article.

Judging by what the court order said, he will be in custody at least overnight.

"3. The court directs the United States’ Marshal Service to take defendant Kevin Trudeau into custody and to hold him until further order of the court, which will be entered tomorrow, September 19, 2013, at a hearing scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. The Marshal and the Metropolitan Correctional Center are directed to ensure that Mr. Trudeau is available to be interviewed by a representative of the Receiver and its attorney, along with access to defendant’s counsel, to allow defendant to demonstrate that he has or can purge himself of his contempt."
Now, I suppose that "custody" could mean anything. Maybe the Marshal is a member of Kevin's fabled Brotherhood and will usher him down to a seekrit subterranean luxury bunker where he can continue to enjoy fine cigars and booze and an organic banquet and manicures and pedicures out of sight of the general public. Or maybe the Marshal and Kevin will go out on the town together, with Kevin handcuffed to him. That would still be custody, technically speaking. *

At any rate, I just checked the "Inmate search" on the MCC web site and as of the time I am writing this (7:20 PM CDT, Wednesday, September 18), Trudeau hasn't been processed through the system. There was nothing for "Kevin Mark Trudeau," so I tried "Kevin Trudeau," and the only record was the one from Katie's past incarceration in the 1990s. Here's a close-up:


I'll check back again a little later. Or if I'm busy, one of you can check. Here's a handy link.

The Schadenfreude is so thick you can cut it with a knife on some of the Facebook forums, and the jokes about Kevin and his burly cellmate Bubba are flying back and forth among the ignoranti. But even if Kevin does end up in a cell, the big priority will presumably be for him to meet with the representative from the receiver, Kenton Johnson, to discuss his finances -- not to be thrown into the general population and degraded, as some of his detractors seem to want so badly to happen.

Understand that I'm not defending anything Kevin Trudeau has done; I've been writing for years about what a con artist and liar and sociopath he is. But those of you who are salivating over the prospect of Kevin and "Bubba" need to consider that
some of those who have been crowing the most loudly about this are much more deserving of "Bubba's" attention than Kevin is.

Stay tuned..

* As people who have read or listened to Kevin may know, he has bragged that when he spent time in the Federal lockup in the early 1990s, it was indeed Club Fed and really quite cushy, because (or so he claimed) he had connections with his secret "Brotherhood" members who saw to it that he was treated like a king. A big part of his marketing shtick for the GIN scam was that he still had these kinds of connections and seekrit knowledge, and anyone who was willing to invest money in GIN could eventually acquire that knowledge and even those connections too. And many people apparently believed it. His brother Bob has told quite a different story of Kevin's prison experience, and particularly of how awful the experience was on Kevin's parents.

More media coverage:

UPDATE 19 September 2013:
I didn't feel like writing a whole new blog post about this so I'll just update this one. Judge Gettleman agreed to release Katie again, with a warning.,0,182440.story
A judge agreed to free TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau from custody today, but warned that he would throw him back into jail if he does not cooperate with federal regulators looking into his financial affairs.

"I'm going to release you today," U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman told Trudeau, dressed in an orange jumpsuit after spending a night at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. "If I'm not satisfied that you've been forthright with them, you might be wearing the same color you're wearing right now."

The judge set another hearing for Sept. 26.

And here is the link to a longer version of Judge Gettleman's order, listing the conditions upon which Katie has been sprung for now. One point to note is that so far the FTC has not had its wish granted regarding its demand to have Katie's monthly allowance taken away unless he gets a real job and contributes to the receivership estate. That matter and others are continued to September 26, 2013 at 2:00 PM.

Mark your calendars, my pretties.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kevin Trudeau: a long way down?

That's right, it's come to this,
yes it's come to this,
and wasn't it a long way down,
wasn't it a strange way down?

~ Leonard Cohen, "Dress Rehearsal Rag," Songs of Love and Hate, 1973

Well, Dear Ones, here is the newest video from serial scammer Kevin Trudeau. In this video he is desperately begging for donations to his new legal defense fund, not to be confused with the always-dodgy StandWithKT fund, which the court-appointed receiver seized on August 7, along with all of the other extant (at that time) Trudeau business entities. (Click on link to play the video; if that doesn't work, try this link.) [Note: I modified this paragraph from the original posted on September 17, because it seems clearer now to me that this is not some seekrit viral video that Kevin did not intend for public consumption. ~CC, 18 September, 2013.]

In this video, Kevin laments that if he doesn't raise a certain amount of money "this week," his attorneys will withdraw from the case because he can't pay them. They are on standby with a motion to withdraw from the case, says he. For the past few months there had been talk about this as a possibility but it has not happened yet. Now he says it is imminent, though we really don't know how much of this is true and how much is his customary crocodile-tears exaggeration. (I did notice that even though Kimball Anderson is still listed on the criminal docket, in his video Kevin only mentioned the names of two other lawyers with Winston & Strawn, Thomas Kirsch and Katherine Rohlf.)

A few other things stuck out for me while watching this vid. First, Kevin seems to be uncertain about his potential sentence should he be found guilty in his criminal trial, which begins November 4. In the video, he says a couple of times that he believes the government wants to put him away for 10-18 years. That was the government's original recommendation, but since then, according to Kevin's own lawyers, Judge Guzman upped the potential sentence to life in prison. Has this changed? Or does Kevin not know about it? It seems that since he is such a drama queen he would certainly mention a potential life sentence if he knew about it.

Also, regarding the seminar he says he is going to be giving in Washington DC in October, immediately following the GIN Family Reunion, in order to raise funds for his legal defense: At first in the video, he advertised his seminar as being on October 21. Then at the very end he clearly said October 24. Which is it, dude? The larger question of course is whether he will be able to actually give the seminar. The FTC wants to keep him in the jurisdiction (Northern Illinois). And even though his presentation, if it happens, will be completely separate from GIN, there are questions about whether his conducting a seminar to raise money for his legal fund is allowed under the terms of the receivership. Certainly some of his loudest detractors (the Loony Coldwell camp) are trying to keep that event from happening, and they claim to be in touch with the FTC, the receiver, FBI, IRS, and who knows who else in order to keep the leash on Katie as tight as possible.

For now, though, it appears to me (though I am no legal expert, of course) that he is conducting his legal fundraising under the watchful eye of the receiver, the court, the FTC, and any and everyone else who has any authority over him and his business entities... so, sorry, Loony, you and your band of phony heroes are going to have to dig a little harder to find something to nail him on right now.

Speaking of phony heroes...

But back to our Movie of the Week. Several people have said Kevin looks awful in this latest video, but I guess we all see what we want to see. I did see and hear a bit of desperation but I don't know if it was sincere. However, I thought he looked relatively polished for being such a "virtually homeless, virtually penniless" boy. And it seemed that overall Kevin was putting a positive spin on his situation as usual: a hustler to the very end.

He even took pains to laud the professionalism of the court-appointed receiver, making it sound almost as if he and some of the folks at the receiver firm are old buddies. (Then again, that's what The Secret star and hustledork extraordinaire Joe Vitale pulled a few years ago
with ABC News reporter Dan Harris, but to no avail: Harris' resulting piece on Joe made Joe look pretty silly.) Kevin talked about the receivership as if is a blessing and a possible road to cleaning up his businesses and allowing him to start over and stride forward into a bright, bold new future. (At the end of the video, though, he didn't seem quite so sure of the brightness of that future.)

Kevin does seems concerned about the trouble he is in -- though again, with Kevin you never know. On paper, he is clearly in trouble, but since Kevin has never been known for his forthrightness, we don't know how much he actually perceives he is in trouble. It does seem clear that he is still playing the martyr, the First Amendment Stuporhero. Once again he tells the story of how the big bad gummit has been coming after him since 1989 -- "1989!" he stresses, repeatedly -- just because of stuff he wrote and said, exposing Big Pharma and government corruption and so forth. (He neglects to mention his little stints in prison for larceny and credit card fraud in 1991-93). He tells the same sad story that has won the hearts, minds, and wallets of thousands of gullible folks over the years. He even fudges regarding a lawsuit where he sued the government; he said he won. (Well, no. He didn't. Wikipedia has a fairly good summary of his legal troubles over the years, citing numerous sources listed at the end of the article.)

He also exaggerates other aspects of his troubles. My friend Julie worked for the promotional company ITV Direct during the infamous "coral calcium raid" that is part of Trudeau's narrative. She was actually there when the Feds confiscated the supplement that Trudeau and his buddy were claiming was a cure for cancer. Contrary to claims Trudeau has made when telling this story, no one was thrown to the ground, she says.
In short, this latest drama-queen video is the same old b.s. we're accustomed to hearing from Kevin Trudeau.
And the whole begging routine -- especially his offer to perform his magickal one-on-one "energy work" to remove blockages and whatnot (if you just donate enough money) -- is a real eye-roller. Equally absurd: his claim that he is going to reveal secrets that he has never, ever, ever, ever, ever revealed to anybody, not even the high-level GIN members, not even the Inner Circle members who spent, at minimum, $50,000 or $75,000 for access to his greatness. Seriously, does anyone still believe this crap?

Here's a rundown on the "value" you can expect to get for your donation to The Cause (click to enlarge):

And yet... and yet... I have to slap myself these days because once in a while I find myself almost feeling sorry for Kevin. Almost. I am a compassionate fool, when it comes right down to it. Last night I found a dead mouse under the sink. I was the one who put out the bait for it. The mouse died by my own hand. And yet seeing that cute little thing lying there, with its perfect little pink hands, almost made me cry. Almost. And this happens every time, as you may know because I know I've written about this a few times before. But I've killed mice before, and although it never brings me joy and always makes me sad, I will no doubt kill them again.

Kevin Trudeau is no hapless mouse under the kitchen sink, and no one (that I know of) is trying to kill him. He is egotistical, arrogant,
eternally duplicitous, possibly a sociopath, and certainly a serial scammer, who brought his troubles on himself. As my pal Tim wrote on a Facebook discussion:
What surprises me is that kt doesn't just settle with the FTC and carry on with his scams. GIN was able to bring in close to 100 million, I believe kt could have settled for 10 - 15 of that somewhere along the line. He could also have set up a reasonable payment plan and continued to suck GIN dry with payments to the FTC. Instead he is exposing his money shelters all over the world and making it more difficult for him to get future scams off the ground.

And yet, somehow, the thought of Kevin wasting away the rest of his days in a prison cell -- a remote possibility, I still think, but a possibility nonetheless -- doesn't bring me joy. You won't hear me making jokes about him sharing a cell with Bubba. (I think such jokes are disgusting, unless we're dealing with violent criminals such as murderers, rapists, and
sexual predators. I've said before and I'll say again that I find it utterly revolting to read Loony Coldwell's remarks about Trudeau in the arms of Bubba (or "Babba," as he sometimes spells it), when if anyone belongs in or under a Bubba cell, it's...well, not Kevin.) 

Even before the criminal trial commences in November, Kevin risks being thrown in jail, at least for a while, for possibly violating the terms of the receivership agreement. I wrote about that yesterday (and also linked to two recent (September 16, 2013) court documents concerning this matter. 

Looking at Katie's latest video, and seeing and hearing him beg (whether sincerely or not), I can't help thinking of the lyrics to the chorus of
Leonard Cohen's early 1970s tune, "Dress Rehearsal Rag." Kevin may not have hit bottom yet, and he may never do so -- he may yet find that safety net of enablers who come forward at the eleventh hour -- but it does seem, these days, that he is on his way down.

And it has been a long, long way.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Kevin Trudeau: the receiver finds some plunder Down Under, FTC not pleased, nudges judge to jail Katie

This past Friday (September 13, 2013), I reported on the September 12 response by serial scammer Kevin Trudeau's lawyers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) motion for a modification of the August 7 receivership order. The FTC wanted the court to take Kevin's modest (by his standards) monthly living allowance away unless he gets a real job and earns his keep. Kevin's attorneys lamented that Katie is just a poor boy and he needs that allowance, darn it, and besides, he is unemployable because he's a convicted felon and all that. Here's the scoop on that, if you need to catch up. (That post also contains links, at the end, to all of my previous posts on Trudeau.)

Today, September 16, was the day that the FTC's reply to Trudeau's lawyers' response was due.
And boy, did the FTC give the court an earful (or an eyeful). They are not-so-subtly nudging the judge to throw Katie in jail for, among other things, the fact that Katie has an account in Australia that he forgot to disclose to the receiver. Oops! 

(As it happens, he did mention its existence to the FTC back in January 2013, but gave no information beyond that; see PS below. At best his handling of the account in re the Feds and the receiver seems like a fib by omission.)
I'm not all that surprised by the assets Down Under. Katie has roots in Oz, having done business there with, among others, the late lamented Rene Rivkin. They were good buddies before Rivkin killed himself in 2005. I have a half-finished blog post about that very topic. I need to finish it.

Anyway. Katie has not exactly been living like a poor boy since his assets were frozen. In fact, he has been living large. According to today's document:

As the Court will recall, on July 26, the Court sternly warned Trudeau regarding what would happen if he did not comply with the receivership and asset freeze. As the Court put it, 'I would be absolutely within reason and the law and the facts of this case to incarcerate [you] today,' PXA:3 at 30:20-22, but the Court wanted to give Trudeau a chance to cooperate with a receivership. However, if that 'doesn’t work,' then incarceration 'will be the next thing that happens.' Id. at 31:8. As the Court explained to Trudeau, 'instead of putting you in prison, or incarcerating you, I’m giving you the key to open that [jailhouse] door. I’m giving you the key to keep you out of that door. And it’s the last time I am going to do that.' Id. at 40:17-20.

The next day, July 27, Trudeau spent $185 at the Dalia Salon & Spa in Hinsdale. See PXA:2 at 3; see also dot com. And the following day (July 28), Trudeau spent $357.21 at Whole Foods in Hinsdale, $559.52 on cigars in Westmont, and transferred 20,000 Australian dollars (approximately $18,642) from his Australian account to an unknown location.

Grouses the FTC, "The Australian account is almost certainly not the only source of funds that Trudeau is using to maintain his lifestyle. It is merely the only one for which the Receiver has obtained statements thus far."

It should be noted that the receivership order did not go into effect until August 7, and some of Katie's livin'-large expenditures were incurred before then. Even so, his assets were technically frozen on July 26, so...

At any rate, here is what the FTC wants:

Although the Court may elect to incarcerate Trudeau now (and the FTC reserves the right to seek such relief in the future), the FTC asks the Court to:
(1) modify the Writ Ne Exeat (June 25, 2013) (DE699) to prevent Trudeau from leaving the Northern District of Illinois until he: (A) repays everything he spent in violation of the Court’s orders ($8,679.43);7 (B) disgorges the remaining balance in his Australian bank account to the Receiver; and (C) provides the $18,642 that he transferred from that account on July 28 to the Receiver; and
(2) modify the Receivership Order to clarify that Trudeau may only receive money for 'ordinary and necessary' living expenses from amounts he contributes to the Receivership Estate through legitimate employment.

All righty, then! There are numerous other tidbits in that document. We learn, among other things, that Kevin's lovely bride Nataliya Babenko has returned to Ukraine (footnote 6, page 5 of document 749). I am crushed, for I had such high hopes for that marriage. If a serial scammer and his young mail-order bride can't make a go of a marriage, is there any hope for the rest of us? The FTC makes note of this because the formerly approved allowance for Katie was for two adults, one of whom was presumably his wife. But now she's no longer living with him (and actually has not been for months), so the FTC is also suggesting that his paltry allowance should be made even more paltry.

So... will Katie finally end up in jail, at least until he can scare up some money that the FTC and the receiver are satisfied does not belong to the receivership estate? Or will the judge decide again not to incarcerate Katie, leaving him open to accusations of running kangaroo court? Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, here again is the link to the latest court documents (also see below). 

PS ~ Here is another court document that was filed later on September 16, 2013. This is the receiver's supplemental report (Document number 750, and attached exhibits, comprising Document 750-1). The report covers items discovered or clarified since the receiver's first monthly report (September 6, 2013). Some of these exhibits were also attached to Document 749, linked to above. If you read the document you will see that the receiver (footnote 2, page 1) says Kevin did apparently alert the FTC to the existence of the Australian account back in January of 2013 during his financial disclosures, but the FTC said they did not have any info beyond that at the time. Also, after the receiver began the investigation, they confronted Kevin with questions about the account, and at first he said he had no access to it, but later he provided access. Kevin will probably try to argue that he was NOT concealing the existence of this account, which technically is true. However, it also seems that the investigators had to coerce him to give them the details, and that he lied to them a few times in the process.

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