I-Team: Kevin Trudeau, an unlikely pauper

The I-Team investigates an unlikely pauper, Kevin Trudeau, who made millions on late night TV selling weight loss books.
April 18, 2014 7:21:37 PM PDT
The I-Team investigates an unlikely pauper, Kevin Trudeau, who made millions on late night TV selling weight loss books. Now in prison, Trudeau claims he can't afford to pay for his appeal.

Kevin Trudeau used to spend about as much on haircuts as the filing fee for his appeal, and now he claims that he can't afford either of them.

Trudeau has long-claimed that he didn't have the money to pay his $37 million fine for consumer fraud, but Friday he has made it official, filing with the court what is known as "in forma pauperis," in the manner of a pauper.

Trudeau says taxpayers should fund his $500 appeal filing because he can't, but the paperwork also tells us a few other things.

This is Kevin Trudeau's current residence: the Metro Correctional Center in Chicago where he has begun serving a 10-year federal prison sentence.

But before he was taken away in the prisoner wagon, Trudeau drove a Bentley. Trudeau drove a Bentley, while claiming to be on the brink of bankruptcy, had a castle-like home here in Chicago, complete with a full domestic staff and as an ABC News investigation found, traveled in style between the U.S. and Switzerland, where he also stayed in style and spent lavishly at nearby, high-end boutiques. And when Trudeau was charged with federal crimes, he approached that the same way.

"I have to hire lawyers for huge amounts of money but it is worth every penny," said Trudeau.

On Friday though, he claims to be penniless- or just about - in this pauper's declaration, a financial affidavit supporting his request for the taxpayers to fund his appeal filing.

In his own handwriting, Trudeau claims that he was last paid in the summer of 2013, "14,000 Swiss Francs" or about $15,000, from a website company he operated in Switzerland.

Trudeau also discloses that in the past 12 months his wife received approximately $100,000 although he notes that he's not sure, apparently, of the exact amount.

His wife, Natalia Babenko, a former New York film student who became a business partner as well, is now effectively homeless according to Trudeau in court.

In this paperwork Trudeau states he's not sure what his wife may or may not have. "I think she has nothing," he writes.

Trudeau also discloses that he received a gift in the last year of approximately $10,000, but he is not sure of that either.

For now Trudeau claims to be indigent just for the purpose of his court costs. He would have to file separately if he wanted the taxpayers to cover his Chicago attorney's fees. The I-Team didn't get a response from them Friday.

However, two federal judges haven't thought much of Trudeau's vows of poverty, suspecting he has stashed millions in foreign accounts. And prosecutors have called him a "habitual liar."

We do know from federal prison records that Trudeau has $370.84 in his prison account.


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