According to a recent AP article, TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau has been jailed for refusing to disclose his assets in court proceedings. The Federal Trade Commission won a $37 million judgment over five years ago against Trudeau for “hoodwinking viewers” about his weight loss books. Trudeau insists he is penniless and has paid nothing. However, a Federal judge in Chicago was unimpressed noting that Trudeau recently spent “hundreds of dollars on cigars and a haircut.” Two days later, Trudeau again told the judge he was penniless. The judge told Trudeau he didn’t believe him, and sent him back to jail. The judge also jailed Trudeau last month for being uncooperative.
Federal judges have lots of power and like all judges, hate getting the run around. I often get questions about moving assets offshore for protection against lawsuits. In my opinion, moving assets offshore can be ineffective and dangerous. Judges can put an uncooperative judgment debtor in jail for contempt if the debtor refuses to disclose assets or where the assets are located. It’s also risky to park one’s money in some foreign countries that promote themselves as asset protection friendly. One may never get them back. There are better approaches.
By Robert Hawkinson