Don Lapre, Vitamin Titan, Attempted Suicide, Hid Out at Lifetime Fitness

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Vitamin hustler Don Lapre, in a still from one of his once-ubiquitous infomercials

They say the marshal always gets his man, but there's no guaranteeing the condition the fugitive will be in when nabbed.

Take infomercial huckster Don Lapre, who made the not-so smooth move of failing to appear for his arraignment in federal court on 41 counts of fraud-related charges. After his no-show on Wednesday, June 22, a warrant was issued for his arrest. 

U.S. Marshals had him in custody by Thursday evening.

But when federal agents stopped the car Lapre was in, near Warner Road and Interstate 10 in Tempe, they found the marketing guru suffering from deep, self-inflicted knife wounds to his thigh and groin. 

The U.S. Marshals Service believes the vitamin peddler had been trying to hit his femoral artery in order to bleed out and commit suicide. The ultimate method of eluding capture.

Deputy marshals (one of whom was a paramedic) tended to his wounds and transported Lapre to an area hospital, according to U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales

Gonzales told me Lapre underwent surgery and is now being held at an undisclosed medical facility. The wounds were so severe that the judge may have to go to the hospital to proceed with his initial appearance hearing.

Even stranger than Lapre's bid to off himself was where Lapre had been hiding since Wednesday.

"We discovered that he'd been kind of holed up at the Lifetime Fitness center [in Tempe]," Gonzales explained. "He had spent a day and a half secured in a private changing area."

Gonzales' men think the 47-year-old Lapre hurt himself while in the massive, posh, 24-hour gym, which includes swimming pools, a cafe, a salon, steam rooms, and a family changing area that has shower stalls with doors.

It was, apparently, in this family changing room that Lapre was hiding, although he did leave periodically to eat at a local restaurant, and buy a knife.

I visited the facility on Sunday. The assistant manager on duty said he had just returned from doing a training in another state and claimed to know nothing of Lapre. He looked up Lapre's name in the company's database and stated that he was not listed as a member.

However, an employee working the desk said she was there as undercover marshals staked out the gym looking for Lapre. She explained that she harangued one of them for I.D., as all those entering the gym have to present photo I.D. at the front desk. 

The deputy marshal eventually identified himself as law enforcement, but did not tell her that they were after Lapre.

After I showed her a photo of Lapre, she said she didn't remember him, but she did confirm that he had been a Lifetime Fitness member.

She also recalled seeing bags of clothes and towels found in the family changing area that day by the cleaning staff, as well as a knife discovered with the items. The clothes and towels were stained with what she now assumes was blood.

"We didn't know what it was," she said of the find. "We didn't think it was blood. We actually thought it was [excrement]."

The door to the family changing area states that parents and guardians are only supposed to enter the room if a minor 11 or under is with them. But the female clerk explained to me that people go through the room "all the time," sometimes to access a nearby pool.

Lifetime's General Manager Brian Frankwick was not available Sunday, and has not returned my requests for comment. 

Another employee who identified himself as a former general manager would only speak off the record, but he explained that due to shift changes and the size of the gym, they have had incidents in the past where people try to use the facility as a hotel. He stressed that this is not allowed, and that those discovered doing this are immediately 86'd.

According to Gonzales, Lapre had just left the facility in a car driven by his sister when he was arrested. Another person was in the car as well, but Gonzales is not releasing that individual's name at this time. Lapre's sister and the other individual were not arrested.

"We're looking into the possibility that these individuals were harboring or hindering prosecution," Gonzales said. "They said they were going to the hospital, but they were stopped at Warner and I-10, just down the road from the gym."

Gonzales says his men spotted Lapre leaving with "other individuals associated with him." They left the gym's parking lot in two cars, one with Lapre, his sister, and another person. And at least one other person in a separate car.

Gonzales noted that Lapre needed "immediate medical attention." 

The question remains why these individuals, assuming they wanted to help Lapre with his injuries, didn't just call 911 or the marshals' service.

Lapre's Website features a message to supporters acknowledging his legal problems. Though it does not mention suicide, it does have a slight feeling of finality to it.

"It did not work out for me with my vitamins but I believe that being willing to fail is part of having a chance at success, " he writes. "Never stop dreaming and for all those who sent me testimonials of what you did because of some of my help, I am grateful I made a small difference in your life."


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184 comments
playmate perv
playmate perv

Well if he got to bone Cindy Margolis I'm envious.

Gergnacnud
Gergnacnud

Don Lapre was a scam artist. I got scammed by him a while back. He was a pathetic excuse of a human being that lived a fake life. Justice has been served. Fuck you, Don Lapre. You're in hell now where you belong.

evelyn
evelyn

 i send prayers too this fine young man`s family i also knew him and he was a good ,kind and giveing young man. god bless .evelyn

Hellogolf2008
Hellogolf2008

don ,s only problem was he dropped out of high school....... if he would of gone to college like  myself ,we could of had a hell of a time on wall street.. yes you guessed it.. none of us got arrested.

Antonio Navarro
Antonio Navarro

I remember when i was 18 and got my first credit card and orderd his "Making money package" It actually worked, I placed ads in different papers and made money in lawn aerating.  No 900 numbers though, but i would have good weekends in making several hundreds of dollars.  His other biz stuff was dishonest i agree, he just didn't know when to stop, he got to greedy, its amazing what motivated this man, Its a little erie for me to know he's dead.  He made some major mistakes and he paid with his life, I feel pitty for him, and know he leaves kids behind, I can only imagine what was going through his mind the last couple of days, probably going insane (self inflicted knife wounds).  RIP Don.    One last comment, I have seen so many of these "gurus" go down and are chased by the law so agresevily, WHY? How come they are not as agressive to catch crooks like the ones working in WALL STREET.  This world is so lopsided.....to much to say, I'll stop here!!!

sally
sally

Other sites say hes dead.

Gm suks
Gm suks

Buy A GM Car Or Truck aSSeMbled in Mexico.  Now thats HONEST.

Cliff Pelfrey
Cliff Pelfrey

I have purchased Don's systems in the past and they do work, you just have to work them and spend money on marketing. I respect what Don did, just most americans has no ideal how to run a business so and its easier just to say its a scam. R.I.P Don

Seaserpents
Seaserpents

 I taught that boy everything he knows

TONY GOTTI
TONY GOTTI

R.I.P DON, GOD BLESS YOUR 2 DAUGHTERS !!!

unknow
unknow

don you did so much  for all of us who work for you . you taught all of us the biz you gave all of us chances to make thousands of dollars each week iam still using what you taught me i will never forget  where i came from don lapre school . you really showed all of us how to make money. if it were nt for you  who knows what i would be doing. god bless you don rip

David
David

I have never been on a real vacation nor ever owned a house. I guess it really is better to never had wealth then to have it and lose it all. He would have got this behind him and survived just fine, now his kids will, no doubt, unjustly harbor resentment towards the government.  I wasn't scammed, but admit the placing ads package was tempting. Now Sally can scam her kids by telling them Daddy is in heaven. 

Durty
Durty

Poor Don? Are you kidding? He was not poor after scamming people for millions of dollars!!! Too stupid to know to get out of Dodge before the Marshalls caught up with him... suicide is cowardly, and it is obvious he was feeling the pressure of doing wrong...

Azdodgers
Azdodgers

He got what he deserved, i got scammed by him.

MK
MK

wonder if his Obituary will be a tiny little classified ad in thousands of newspapers all over the country? 

Herbert Kaufman
Herbert Kaufman

I hate to say it, but I liked the guy. I saw him on TV about 20 years ago and liked him immediately. His intenseness and confidence in what he was saying impressed me. Apparently he impressed a lot of other people as well; to the tune of millions of dollars. I can't say he scammed them because they knew, or should have known that if something sounds too good to be true;it isn't. His "victims" had the same disease he had; namely greed. Wealth and money became so important in his, and their lives, they threw caution to the winds. Not to mention common sense, morality, ethics and honesty. And still, knowing all this, I liked the guy.

Seth Austin
Seth Austin

Well, that beautiful house now belongs to the feds. That is if it's really his. These infomercial scammers love to pose with luxury items that don't belong to them.

guest
guest

I don't feel sorry for him. Suicide is the most selfish thing you can do and he knows he scammed lots of people, otherwise he would have felt no need to try and buck the system. He beat this system but he won't beat the one in the after life.

Azbowhunter1222
Azbowhunter1222

Wow, I used to work for him ten years ago or so when his classified ad deal was selling.

I remember him telling all of us before work that he wanted to die (he lost a lot of money in real estate deals in Mexico and felt he couldn't live any longer broke.)

He was a heck of a nice guy - very giving.

Sucks that he wasn't strong enough to plead his case.

RIP Don!

bwpr
bwpr

update he is dead now 10/02/11/   Awwwwwh!  Whaaaaah!

CapitaloneInc
CapitaloneInc

Don did make a lot of people millions..... The tv stations and the ma bells.Any man willing to end his life do to his actions deserves some consideration.Good luck Don.

Teamsterbro
Teamsterbro

don lapre, god gave you a gift, the gift of gab, you have the ability to lead others, use it to show others the way to eternal happiness, they will fallow, but make no bones lapre, do not lead them astray. use your gift wisely my son.  

JimmyBob
JimmyBob

If he felt no guilt in his business practices, then why was he hiding? With his money he could hire the best attorney to plead his case, no matter how bad the evidence. Ala O.J.

He and many others pray on those seeking fast money and easy wealth. He hopefully will show those many Infomercial professionals what can happen.

Arthur Najera Jr
Arthur Najera Jr

Its very sad to see his website..I worked for Don back in the 90's at three different offices..he was a man that did not have a problem sharing his wealth or showing others how to obtain it if they followed his steps..I remember he built us a cafe in the office and he bought us lunch everyday..it was the best place and he was the best employer I have and will evey work for.God Bless Don and his family..Don is my Hero

michael o'...
michael o'...

i've known don since he was `16 y.o. he is truly one of the greatest men i've ever met...loving father of two beautiful daughters, beatiful wife and if anyone has anything bad to say about him, look, in the mirror...

Ritchiesbrother
Ritchiesbrother

I bought his books. What a crock? He's finally getting what he deserves. I hope they rape him in prison. He certainly deserves that.

Anthony Caretti
Anthony Caretti

Let him feel what it is like to be a victim.  It is coming back to him.  All the false misleading marketing ploys to fleece hundreds of thousands of people so he can live in his posh Arizona golf course spa house.  I have always hated the wealthy for what they do and I always will

Richard
Richard

 Thery are too late to indite Horatio Alger or Dale Carnegie. Only Mick Jagger gets away with it all.

Richard
Richard

 Don Lapre is the all-american good guy. What he has to offer is his enthusiasm and his proactive attitude. That is all for free. If you like, you can send your money and get his plan. If you think it is like send $39 and rweceive back $1 million? Then you deserve to be in court getting a guardian--not Don Lapre.. But who would fail to see the big picture in this way? Some lower middle class  beauracrat.

Richard
Richard

  "Guy you must be suffering from the after effects of having your head planted so far up Don's Ass...."   You like to talk dirty, Son? How  you like to face hard time for it?

Richard
Richard

 Vitamins are no good! I didn't make a million dollars out of my teeny tiny apartment! And what about all the money I left in the church plate? 

Richard
Richard

 Don Lapre is the all-american good guy. What he has to offer is his enthusiasm and his proactive attitude. That is all for free. If you like, you can send your money and get his plan. If you think it is like send $39 and rweceive back $1 million? Then you deserve to be in court getting a guardian--not Don Lapre.. But who would fail to see the big picture in this way? Some lower middle class  beauracrat.   You don't want to kill yourself over this, Don. This is just their error. Whether the courts would make you accept some sort of settlement, it is not the real world doing this to you. Ya fell into the pooper.   Pick yourself up and dust yourself off.

jai daily
jai daily

When fresh fruit isn't readily available, dried fruit is another way to obtain sunshine in a package. Concentrated in taste, dried fruit is also concentrated in nutrients. For example, about one-fourth of a cup of dried cherries has about 20 percent of your vitamin A needs and 4 percent of your daily iron. www.1wallmart.com We found a dried-plum (formerly known as prune) product, produced by Mariani Packing Co., called "Premium Pitted Prunes Plus," which contains 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 20 percent of vitamin B-6, 20 percent of vitamin B-12, 20 percent of vitamin E and 20 percent of iron, all from a one-fourth cup serving. www.cleansemart.com

ByeDon
ByeDon

The marshals could've found him a lot quicker simply by placing tiny classified ads...

KC
KC

I've known the guy since 96. Straight up scammr and damn good at it. Him and William McCorckle should go into biz together, they are masters of deception. My favorite Don Lapre line from the 90's: "I started from my 1 bedroom apartment lmao!!!

I did a video spoof on him in 2004, golden

Bill
Bill

 I made money in the 90s with his making money package.  That was about 20 years ago.  He was my first mentor.

Alan_Smithee10
Alan_Smithee10

Don Lapre is a scumbag. I used to work as a telemarketer in my younger more sinful days and working for his money making program is probably the slimyest most crooked fraud filled job I ever had. Money back guarantee! HAHAHA ! No way there was no return department if people called to return something we were told to run them in circles until they gave up. This guy is a crook! Good riddance to bad rubbish.

yuyyyt47
yuyyyt47

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Kmstrr
Kmstrr

that was well said

AA
AA

Really? He didn't deserve to be selfish and take his life and leave his kids to suffer.

I laugh at those who proclaim they got taken as if he reached in and took money right out of your pocket.

Parting with your money because you believe is one thing and parting with it because you were uneducated on the truth is another. There is a difference.

But that's what Government is for right?

To protect those who are blinded by the truth and get taken?

Isn't that just evolution?

The strong survive and the weak get weeded out.

Ok. He lied. You thought a pill cured cancer, made you lift a car and freak all night and low and behold it didn't work. - Off with his head!

There is some personal responsibility here.

You - for believing the highly unbelievable.

TV - for allowing such claims that couldn't be backed up.

The Government for allowing it to go on for as long as it did. Don't you think they watch TV? Guess they have a st number they have to reach before taking acting. Like 226,000 and unfortunately you may have been 225,999.

However,

Where is the FTC on Government candidates?

Everyone of them lies on TV, makes false promises and completely reverses positions after they get elected. Basically, stealing votes on the assumption they will do what they say they will do for your vote.

Yet, Don got 54million and while our country is 14 Trillion in debt.

Glad we got our priorities straight.

Steven8856
Steven8856

Lots of people liked him its easier to scam if your likeable how many con men do you know that are pricks

LLNBIZB
LLNBIZB

I take it you fell for one of his "scams"...

Joeydeeinaz
Joeydeeinaz

you said it  best the best place i ever work at too giving cars motor cycles tv cash i learned so much from don every one should be like don

LLNBIZB
LLNBIZB

There are some truly twisted individuals out amongst us...

SteveKasian
SteveKasian

Wow.. you really ARE a complete loser. lol  Your last sentence says it all. Don't get me wrong, Don was certainly a slimeball scam artist, but for someone to believe that all people who have wealth are the same and are worthy of hatred... well, it just shows what a truly worthless piece of Scheiße you are. If it weren't for the wealthy in this world, you would have never been born. Hey... wait a minute... I'm actually justifying your hatred of wealthy folks with that little nugget of truth, huh. LOL! So maybe I AM wrong...

John Chartier
John Chartier

I bought the Money Making program in the 90's. I still have the books in my closet. I never looked at Don as a liar or a scammer. I always looked at Don Lapre as a motivator. Someone who gave me hope when I needed it. What he said always made perfect sense to me. He used simple mathematical formulas to show people how to start off small and duplicate on that success. There were no guarantees made and I knew that fact when I purchased his package. The books had some great information included and I am happy with what I bought. I also used that knowledge to purchase 900 numbers in the late 90's that did make me money. I did not purchase my numbers from Don. But I always kept the knowledge I learned from him in mind. It was never meant for Don to do all the work for you. He provided the tools and knowledge needed to help you build your own success. So I feel the amount I paid for his "money making" package was well worth it.

  Now... with that being said... I don't know what happened in more recent years with Don and his business. I have zero knowledge about this Vitamin Company that caused his downfall. Don never came across to me as a scammer. However.... generally people who are innocent don't take a knife to their own groin either. So now I'm caught with mixed emotions. Did he try to "off" himself because he really feels that he's guilty of a crime (or) did he do it just because he's incredibly disappointed and depressed about letting so many people down????  

  Either way it is sad. Just plain said for everyone involved. I can think of lots of people who deserve a jail sentence more than Don Lapre probably does, but yet they get to walk free. I would at least like to see Don fight this with all his heart and soul, so that I can see for myself if he really is guilty of a crime or not. I can't say he's innocent. I simply don't know. At this point, I would just like to think that Don is a guy who had all good intentions, but then got caught up in a rare mess that he didn't know how to fix.

  I wish you luck Don. You still have a lot to offer the world no matter what went wrong this time. Don't give up. You are a great motivator. You don't even need to sell products. You simply have an incredible talent to get people pumped up and to take action. That's worth a lot to people. You can come back bigger and better than ever. Don't ever forget that. If there is only word to remember, Let it be "HOPE". During your darkest days "HOPE" will be your best friend. I hope that everything works out for you. Take care.

Alan_Smithee10
Alan_Smithee10

HOPE! what's next? Change? How about a nobel peace prize given  to a particula ma nwho has done what EXACTLY to promote world peace? (seriously, i am all ears Iwant to hear from ne1 prepared to defend that ne.1

--

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