Friday, June 24, 2011
Remember this dude? I do- he's Don Lapre and he has been a star of many an infomercial, his hard-luck to good fortune story front and center. The man who told folks how to get rich off of selling "tiny classified ads" has it all- houses, cars, and cute kids. But he always had a weird veneer that told me that his real get-rich-quick scheme was selling fake opportunities to others. I mean, if all this stuff was so great, why didn't he just keep all of these secrets to himself?
As it turns out, I'm not the only person who thought this guy was too good to be true. His Greatest Vitamin in the World scheme was purchased by over 220, 000 people who bought websites, often from Lapre, to pitch pills that the U.S. government has deemed to be utterly worthless. What's more, he published falsified sales records in order to get more people to sign up. He offered commissions to his best salespeople in the hopes of selling them advertising and other services. One popular package was bulk internet traffic, which Lapre said were targeted customers. All in all, Lapre bilked his "partners" out of over 50 million dollars.
The likable loser has been charged with 41 counts that include Transactional Money Laundering, Conspiracy, and Mail Fraud. After failing to show up for court, he decided to run, knowing he faces 25 years in the tank, but was caught last night.
It seems pretty easy to have sympathy for Don Lapre, or at least shift some blame upon his victims, but this guy was on the airwaves for a long time, and that longevity lent credibility to his image. People heard all about the internet and wanted in on the new technology and the wealth it can bring. Lapre took advantage of his image and the dreams of people who invested their money and hard work in what amounted to be a big Ponzi scheme. He used falsified documents and the health craze to sell a complete lie, and that's why Donald Lapre belongs in jail. There's nothing cool or savvy about abusing the trust of hundreds of thousands of poor, working-class, and elderly citizens.
Donald Lapre may have gotten himself out of his "tiny, 1 bedroom apartment" through selling advertising and running marketing campaigns, but somewhere along the line he became enamoured by his own image. His self-esteem became consumed by the almighty dollar and he then decided that his wants were more important than those of others. Now Don Lapre is going to be surrounded by cement for a very long time, presumably selling the Miracle Colon Cleanse.
How about getting that Kevin Trudeau worm next? Pretty please.
Posted by Michel-Exildas Galipeau at 23:23