CHICAGO (WLS) -- Former TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau claimed he was penniless before he was sent to prison on criminal contempt charges. Now, we're learning new details about alleged efforts to hide his millions from the government.
The former TV pitchman and bestselling author is serving time at a prison camp in Alabama. But he's apparently looking ahead to when he gets out, allegedly trying to hide his millions in foreign accounts. The government is trying to find the money so they can repay nearly 1 million customers who bought his fraudulent diet book.
In 2008, Trudeau told Judge Robert Gettleman he was penniless before he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $37 million. On Tuesday, the judge called Trudeau a liar.
A firm working to uncover Trudeau's assets reported Trudeau has pocketed at least $24 million over the last decade. His companies allegedly took in more than half a billion dollars, $30 million of which remains unaccounted for.
"Mr. Trudeau continues to resist, but we will do everything we can to find the money that properly belongs to the consumers," Jonathan Cohen, Federal Trade Commission attorney.
The government has accused Trudeau of trying to hide his money in foreign businesses and banks in Switzerland and the Caribbean. Eyewitness News has obtained copies of emails between Trudeau and his attorney Marc Lane, who has allegedly tried to help Trudeau hide millions.
One email from Trudeau tells his attorney: "We need to make sure the FTC does not steal the bond or put a lein (sic) on it to satisfy the 37 mil judgement. Start working out the details."
The FTC has managed to get hold of dozens of emails between Lane and Trudeau, including one advising that "securing a bond and keeping it beyond the FTC's reach will require careful planning."
In another email, Lane suggests Trudeau "may wish to consider moving his Australian funds to a different bank which has no U.S. office among its parents, subsidiaries or affiliates."
Another email mentions transferring 95 percent of his assets in a Swiss company to his 26-year-old wife, a Ukrainian citizen the government describes as a "mail order bride".
The Federal Trade Commission wants to start refunding the more than 800,000 customers who bought Trudeau's book, "The Weight Loss Cure".
"Our goal is and has always been to provide refunds to as many consumers who bought The Weight Loss Cure book through Trudeau's infomercials as we possibly can," Cohen said.
The Federal Trade Commission has a plan to send checks for $11 to nearly all of the 820,000 consumers who bought Trudeau's book. The judge is expected to approve the plan later this year.
Lane, the attorney who allegedly helped Trudeau shield his assets from the government, could face disciplinary action.