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Judge: Informercial king Kevin Trudeau’s poverty claim ‘certainly wasn’t true’

Kevin Trudeau is already serving a 10-year prison sentence.

So he might want to hope U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman has a short memory.

That’s because a firm tasked with tracking down Trudeau’s assets found his vast business empire generated more than a half-billion dollars between 1999 and 2013. And after Gettleman hit Trudeau with a $37.6 million fine in 2008, $30.6 million of that fortune went missing and Trudeau claimed to be “penniless.”

“He told me he was broke,” Gettleman said Tuesday, “when he had hundreds of millions of dollars going through his hands.”

Then he called Trudeau a liar — who might have committed perjury.

“It certainly wasn’t true,” Gettleman said of Trudeau’s claims of poverty.

The judge made his comments during a morning hearing where he and a lawyer for the Federal Trade Commission also revealed they’ve filed complaints with Illinois’ Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. The complaints target Trudeau lawyer Marc Lane and the role Lane might have played in Trudeau’s efforts to hide money from the court.

Lane declined to comment Tuesday.

Trudeau is serving a 10-year prison sentence for criminal contempt after violating a court order and repeatedly lying about the contents of a diet book. He’s been accused by prosecutors of brazenly defying Chicago’s federal courts for more than a decade.

His lawyers contested a request by Robb Evans & Associates LLC for payment this month, arguing the firm “found no evidence of any fraudulent transfer of assets despite capturing the entire universe of Trudeau entity records and subpoenaing every imaginable bank credit card company and vendor.”

But Robb Evans’ report also found Trudeau pocketed at least $24 million of the $515 million collected by his various enterprises. Gettleman said Trudeau’s complaints fell “on deaf ears,” and he even compared Trudeau to a man who kills his parents only to argue he is an orphan who deserves mercy from the court.

Meanwhile, the FTC wants to start refunding customers who were duped into buying a diet book it said Trudeau hawked with “grossly deceptive marketing.” It wants to do so with $8 million of Trudeau’s fortune that Robb Evans found while sorting through the infomercial king’s assets.

Gettleman said the FTC’s plan “looks good to me,” but he set an Oct. 7 hearing to allow for Trudeau and others to raise objections before he gives final approval.

FTC lawyers have indicated the refunds could arrive in multiple distributions, and it’s “reasonable” for consumers to expect from the first two distributions $11 total.

But several variables are at play. The refund amounts could depend on the number of consumers the FTC can track down and the percentage who actually cash their checks.

The FTC laid out this month its plans to track down consumers who bought Trudeau’s book as well as how to engage in “consumer-friendly communications using plain language to explain the process.”

More than 820,000 people bought Trudeau’s book, according to the FTC.