Kevin Trudeau is charged with misrepresenting the contents of his latest book, "The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About."
The Federal Trade Commission, which has tangled with Trudeau several times before, said he "deceptively claimed" in three infomercials that the weight-loss plan outlined in his book is "easy to do, can be done at home, and ultimately allows readers to eat whatever they want." The informercials began airing in December 2006.
After purchasing the book, however, the FTC alleged that consumers discover it "requires severe dieting," daily injections of a prescription drug not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for weight loss and "lifelong dietary restrictions."
The book ranks third on the Wall Street Journal's best seller list this week, and 19th on USA Today's list.
The commission charged he has violated a 2004 court order that prohibited him from using infomercials to sell any product or service other than books and required that he not misrepresent the content of those books.
Despite no formal medical training and several criminal convictions, Trudeau has sold millions of books under titles such as "Natural Cures `They' Don't Want You to Know About" and "More Natural Cures Revealed."
He pleaded guilty to larceny in 1990 in Massachusetts after being charged with depositing $80,000 in worthless checks. The following year, he pleaded guilty to credit-card fraud in federal district court and was sentenced to nearly two years in prison. The charges involved the use of credit-card numbers from customers of a memory-improvement course Trudeau was promoting.
The FTC first sued Trudeau in 1998, charging that he made false and unsubstantiated claims in infomercials for hair growth, memory and weight-loss products.
In 2003, the agency sued Trudeau for deceptively marketing a calcium product as a cancer cure and a product called Biotape as a pain reliever.
Trudeau paid $2 million in 2004 to settle the FTC's charges and agreed to comply with a court order banning him from infomercials except those that accurately promote books.
In a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the FTC alleged that Trudeau has violated that court order.
A lawyer for Trudeau was not immediately available to comment.