Kevin Trudeau, shown in this 2010 file photo in federal court in Chicago. He was convicted Nov. 13, 2010 of criminal contempt of court for lying about the content of his weigh-loss book.(Photo: John Kim, Sun-Times Media, AP)
(USA TODAY) -- TV infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau could face a long prison term following his conviction for criminal contempt of court for lying about the contents of his weight-loss book.
"Everyone has hopes and dreams, and con men prey on those hopes and dreams. The defendant is one of those con men," prosecutor April Terry said in her closing argument in federal court Tuesday.
Trudeau, 50, was convicted in Chicago Tuesday and immediately sent to jail by U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman, who said he posed a flight risk.
He will be sentenced in February. The charge carries no maximum sentence and could range from probation to life in prison.
Trudeau is also being pursued by federal regulators for not paying any money on a $37 million fine imposed by regulators.
Trudeau was a fixture on late-night TV channels seven years ago, pitching everything from financial advice to weight-loss solutions.
But he ran afoul of the Federal Trade Commission over his diet book The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About.
In 2004, the FTC imposed a consent decree banning Trudeau from misrepresenting the contents of his book. Regulators said he violated the order a few years later by claiming the book was filled with "easy" techniques when it actually called for hormone injections, a 500-calorie-day diet, and a month of colon hydrotherapy.
Trudeau's book said the diet had been devised by a British doctor in the 1950s and was being covered up by the government and major food companies.
Part of Trudeau's pitch was to take on the government by claiming that his diet secret was so effective the government did not want the public to know about it.
"I look at this government right in the eye and say, 'You want to put me in jail?'" he said in one video posted on his website earlier this year, the Chicago Tribune reports. "Let's go to court, baby."
Trudeau's attorney had argued that his client's pitch was not different that claims found in other ads.
"Watch any television commercial for any product - it's the views and opinions of the persons who are making and selling the product," his attorney, Thomas Kirsch told the court. "That's what advertising is."
Trudeau has been jailed before after the government claimed he tried to avoid paying the huge fine by stashing money in offshore accounts and shielding his assets.