Secret club from undercover 41 Action News investigation will be discussed in federal court

CHICAGO - An infamous TV pitchman is expected to appear in a Chicago courtroom Tuesday as the Federal Trade Commission fights to have him thrown in prison for nonpayment of a multi-million dollar fine.

The case has ties to an undercover 41 Action News investigation that scrutinized the Global Information Network (GIN) , an exclusive club promoted by best-selling author and infomercial king Kevin Trudeau.

As 41 Action News reported in March, Judge Robert Gettleman ordered Trudeau to appear at an evidentiary hearing on May 21.  The FTC wants to throw Trudeau in prison for contempt, arguing he has yet to pay a dime of an enormous $37.6 million fine for misrepresenting the contents of his weight-loss book.

In its contempt motion, the FTC had argued that Trudeau was using GIN to hide millions of dollars in assets while continuing to live a lavish lifestyle.

Trudeau has maintained that he does not have the money to pay the huge sanction. He also denied controlling the finances of GIN.

In the November investigation, 41 Action News went undercover to a GIN weekend conference held in Nashville. Nearly 2,000 people from around the world attended the conference and glowingly endorsed the club when questioned by 41 Action News employees.

Members of the club join for $1,000 and pay $150 monthly dues. The investigation showed that members are encouraged to continue upgrading their status level in the club. Upgrades within GIN can cost thousands of dollars.

41 Action News spoke with former GIN members and also reviewed more than 100 complaints about the club filed with the FTC, which detailed promises for cash payments that never arrived.

One former member from Kansas City, Abe Husein, flew to Chicago on Monday night to attend the scheduled court hearing.

"I've been calling it the doomsday for GIN," said Husein, who is an outspoken critic of Trudeau and GIN on his Facebook page. "I've seen (Trudeau) speak when I was in GIN, but he probably didn't know who I was. I just want to have that sweet justice to see him face to face."

According to court documents, Trudeau will be flying in from Switzerland for the contempt hearing.

In the weeks leading up to the court date, Trudeau's attorneys filed a number of motions to delay the proceedings. Trudeau even filed for bankruptcy, which he argued should put the contempt hearing on hold.

However, Judge Gettleman ruled in favor of the FTC by deciding the May 21 date would stand.

Ryan Kath can be reached at ryan.kath@kshb.com. You can also follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Facebook.

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