Don Lapre, the infomercial pitchman immediately recognizable by his infomercial-y voice, was found dead in prison on Sunday after killing himself — two days before he faced trial for fraud and conspiracy.
Lapre was wanted by law enforcement after he failed to appear at his U.S. District Court arraignment in June on 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, promotional money laundering and transactional money laundering. A federal grand jury indicted Lapre on fraud-related charges for promoting his vitamin-selling business, Greatest Vitamin in the World of Phoenix. The indictments alleged that the business signed up 226,794 people who were promised lucrative commission checks for selling vitamins and recruiting others to the business.
Customers and investors spent nearly $51.8 million, but only 5,000 victims were paid about $6.4 million in commission, according to a statement released in June by the U.S. Department of Justice. Lapre collected at least $2.2 million from the business from 2004 to 2007. [AZ Central]
Writing eulogies can be tough. “He made millions by defrauding over 200,000 people, then killed himself in prison. He will be missed.”