TV Pitchman Donald Lapre Indicted for Scamming Investors in "Best Vitamin in the World" Business Out of Millions

Categories: Scam Alert
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ripoffreport.com
Donald Lapre may have scammed you out of some money.

Alleged Phoenix scammer Donald Lapre, owner of the company The Best Vitamin in the World, has been indicted for allegedly swindling thousands of people out of more than $50 million by having them buy his essentially "worthless" franchises.  

In a 41-count indictment returned last week, the U.S. Department of Justice alleges that Lapre's company sold useless, Internet-based businesses to more than 220,000 victims.

According to the feds, Lapre used nationally televised infomercials to rake in money from unsuspecting people looking to buy the product, join the company, or start a vitamin business of their own.

The charges against him include mail fraud, conspiracy, wire fraud, promotional money-laundering, and transactional money-laundering.

"Home based-business opportunities have a certain appeal, especially in today's economy," says Pete Zegarac, Inspector in Charge of the Phoenix Division U.S. Postal Inspection Service. "Consumers should be cautious of schemes which promise to bring in large amounts of money with little or no effort on their part."

According to the indictment, at the height of Lapre's game, he'd enlisted about 226,794 people to sell his "worthless" products through individual sites of their own.

Lapre also is charged with providing investors in his company (known as "independent advertisers") with fabricated documents of vitamin sales.

Lapre would offer bogus incentives for his sellers, like the promise that "each time you get 20 new people to try our vitamin, we send you a check for $1,000!"

According to the indictment, during the course of the scheme, those scammed were defrauded of approximately $51,816,308.67.

Lapre's arraignment is set for June 22 in federal court in Phoenix before Magistrate Judge Lawrence O. Anderson.

If you think you may have been scammed by Lapre, you can contact authorities by clicking here.

See the entire indictment below,

Lapre Indictment

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42 comments
Harden Tracey
Harden Tracey

Wow! I just seen this for the first time I was an investor of the Vitamins. They were great to me !

Bailinnumberguy
Bailinnumberguy

According to the indictment, during the course of the scheme, those scammed were defrauded of approximately $51,816,308.67. Approximately?  That's a pretty precise approximation.  The .67 makes all the difference.

RB DUCKWATER
RB DUCKWATER

he was cool and had a coll wrap,  however it all caught up with him and he took th CHICKEN sh-t WAY out,, oher than that ur all penetentas!!!!!!!!!!

milore
milore

Some people just never learn. People who fall for this kind of scam don't deserve to get their money back. And now he has committed suicide. He and his family had a nice time on YOUR money! hahaha

Swilson887740
Swilson887740

he  was just found dead of  apparent suicide while in federal custody so good luck about getting any money back!

Jumper
Jumper

still would like to talk to someone that is going after Don and would like my money back.I should have known we they did not give out a product to show anyone that would of been interrested.Think he would get away from everyone and not get caught.I would just like to get my money back.

Fabiohart1
Fabiohart1

HI DON YOU HAVE MY, I REALLY HATE TO SEE U LIKE THIS. BE STRONG AND KEEP PRAYER. IK WILL PRAY FOR YOUR FAMILY.

Jumper
Jumper

I was one that got into this and would like to know of a lawyer that can rep. me so I can get my money back.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Doug Grant was Lapre's business partner in the vitamin scam. Grant is perhaps better known for offing his wife in what was billed as the "Mormon murder" a few years back. http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com...

He was spanked by the FDA in 2005 and 2006 for making bogus claims about his "greatest vitamin in the world," including claims that it cured cancer, diabetes and arthritis.

Physicians analyzing his "greatest vitamin in the world" found it not to be the greatest. Two MDs reporting about the vitamin on quackwatch.com said

The product itself is neither special nor rationally formulated. The ingredients listed on Lapre's Web site included:

*Ten plant-derived enzymes, which, except possibly for lactase, would bedigested prior to being absorbed into the body as trivial amounts ofamino acids [16]. Vegetable enzymes are present in any normal diet thatincludes fruits and vegetables in much larger amounts than those in"The Greatest Vitamin."*Nine "probiotic" bacteria, which most people don't need. Probiotics are bacterial preparations intended to actively colonize the lower intestinal tract. Trillions ofindividual bacteria and hundreds of species of bacteria live in the human colon with a symbiotic relationship to their host. They are an essential part of normal digestion. Probiotics are used medically to treat various digestive disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease and diarrhea, especially diarrhea caused by antibiotics. Despiteongoing research investigating other indications, there is currently no convincing evidence that the use of supplemental probiotics is beneficial to people with normal digestion and a normal diet. The amount of probiotic included in The Greatest Vitamin is verysmall compared with medically recommended doses for people withdigestive disorders. There is no recommended dose for healthy people

.* Eleven vitamins and eleven minerals, which, except for calcium, are in thedoses found in ordinary multivitamin/multimineral products. The amountof calcium could be a useful addition to the diet of women who are notconsuming enough in their diet. Products containing the same amounts ofvitamins and minerals could be purchased at ordinary retail outlets forless than $5 per month.

* Several food substances whose nutrients are present in adequate amounts in most people's diets

* A "whole food blend"of vegetable, fruit and grain ingredients whosenutrients are present in adequate amounts in most people's diets. Thepurpose of these ingredients is not specifically described, but thedaily dose (603 mg) is very small and thus the caloric food value isnegligible. In most commercial products, these ingredients would belisted as "inert vegetable filler."

* Other food substancesand herbal ingredients. A few of these might benefit people withcertain health problems, but some could have side effects and it wouldbe pointless for people without these problems to consume them.

Daveinaz
Daveinaz

LUCY!! What are you selling now? Vita-meata-vegimen? Put me down for 2 cases, cause I'm a  dumbass.

jai daily
jai daily

Be careful and guard against all kinds of greed. Life is not measured by how much one ownsthe price of greed has also destroyed friendships. People utilize scams against their friends sometimes without knowledge or intention. For example, there are numerous scams today developed for the sole purpose of greed. Whether the scam involves debt relief, credit score or travel scams, it is detrimental to its victim. Their neighbor or friend may get introduced to the swindler, thinking that the scam is an opportunity to make fast money. The pyramid scam is then introduced where all your friends and neighbors need to now be a part of this tremendous money making deal. www.cleansemart.com You then bring your friend in as you explain what a wounderful "make money while you sleep," plan this is. Your friend then becomes involved and decides to invest hundreds of dollars. In the end, the only person making money is the greedy swindler who started the pyramid scam. The friendship is now effected or completely damaged forever. For centuries, this has been the price and face of greed.www.1wallmart.com

EX-cessories Specialist
EX-cessories Specialist

People that make a CHOICE to start their own opportunity and fail aren't really being dealt with criminally. When People make a choice to chase the dream of riches and quit early or fail to thrive it's not anyone elses fault but theirs. People need to take responsibilty for their own actions. Suck it up. He got rich on your desire and lack of follow thru....

Englishvinal
Englishvinal

Any effort to keep anyone in good health, or to restore health is discouraged. "Doctors" and Big Pharma have their "lock" on the money.. and that is what this is all about THE MONEY.Maybe that was the real motivation for Lapre, I don't know, but I am certainly not going to pass a judgement on him personally. But I KNOW from observation and the track record that the control of the "health industry" (ought to be called the "death industry") and the resultant MONEY is what is motivating the FDA and the "system" that prosecutes any individual who offers anything that takes the MONEY away from big business.

Fran
Fran

I believe that Don Lapre truly was trying to help people and yes made money while doing it. He also opened up sales positions for many people in the State of Arizona. He is being crucified before his trial begins. Prove him guilty without a reasonable doubt first. Until then, don't judge! The people that purchased into the Vitamin business must have known what they were doing.

I bought the vitamins when they first started selling them for my mother and she loved them. I just couldn't afford to buy them for her on a regular basis and that time in my life.

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

Why do you say it was worthless?   You're insinuating that vitamins are worthless, aren't you?   The franchise may have been a scam based on the fraudulent promises but that doesn't make the product fraudulent.    You don't state that, which makes this a biased article written with an agenda for the purpose of influencing the unaware.    Your lack of ethics is normal for the media. 

Think
Think

you have got to be bull shipping us,so you must not have your head stuck in the ground some where or your just trying to stay under the raidar so you dont go down with it

Think
Think

to the last guy that made his comment,I think you must be a pin head because all the scams that have be thought of from the earliest times would probley make your head spin.Maybe thats why our goverment has caught so many fake bills in our country just to let you know it was a scam.Maybe you can see if your mind can think of some of the greatest scams that have be pulled in just your life time.That might be a way to make you think befor you run your suck.

Steve
Steve

A fool and his money are soon parted. So how did you get yours in the first place?

Michael Smith
Michael Smith

Quackwatch is funded by Big Pharma, so that tells you who you can trust.

M Lansky.
M Lansky.

Let's be clear. While it is certainly the case that consumers are responsible for their own choices, and are not simply innocent victims in this situation. However, it is not legal to knowingly make false claims in the process of promoting a product. We call that false advertising. When you use the US mail or any form of electronic communications as a part of disseminating misinformation for financial gain, we call that mail fraud and wire fraud respectively. When someone takes money from one customer to pay another under auspices of actually returning profit from the sale of goods, thus redistributing wealth rather than generating it.....it's a form of money laundering. Don Lampre made false claims. He fraudulently promoted vitamins and treatments for various specific ailments. He had no research or evidence whatever, FDA approved or not, to back his claims. If you want to sell a vitamin, sell a vitamin, just make sure you aren't claiming that it will treat a particular disease if you have no evidence true of that. Donald also told people he would give them money that he never gave them. failed to provide support that was promised, ran up numbers on counters for website traffic in an effort to persuade people to spend more money, etc, etc. So....he knowingly lied to people for profit. Yes people get away with that constantly, but it does not make their actions legal. Donald Lampre was not doing any form of service to this country. The wealth he accumulated is the kind of thing that is a destructive economic force. Money is a fiat that is to represent that "value" of goods and services. Goods are extracted and processed physical resources, and services are in some way tied to those goods. When people charge money for goods with no real value, such a placebo vitamins, they and devalue goods that actually do help people. When people offer services that promote worthless goods, or do not render any real service, that's money wasted....and inefficiently valued. Again, these valuation decisions are left to the judgement of individuals, and there is nothing illegal about people making those decisions. It is NOT legal for the purveyor of those goods and services to make false claims to promote them....especially not via the US mail. Not everyone gets caught, and Lampre is certainly a sacrificial lamb here. A number of people on Wall Street should have gone to jail a few years ago for a number of things, but there is nothing that can be said to defend Donald Lampre. His arrest is good for the US economy as well.

mrdibs
mrdibs

What a dumb comment.  Yeah Doctors and Big Pharma made him crooked.

Stan
Stan

It is about money. I love when people are being fleeced and seem to like it. You can't fix stupid. Long live Don! A contemporary Robin Hood stealing from retarded and giving...to himself?

Bill
Bill

Walt and Fran, you are both idiots.  It's people like you who keep snakes like Lapre in business.  They exist, because you both do.  Get you r heads out of wherever you're storing them, and get a G/D clue!

Jason
Jason

Walter & Fran,

For the Feds could get to this point they had to have an extremely solid case. Don will be proven guilty - wait & see, the Feds are quite different, they do their homework. Don is an opportunist & led people on with a bogus business opportunity as evidenced by his own website admission of being the "king of informercials" not the king of vitamin health or king of helping people succeed in business - that should tell you something about his true motive.

Mistalee
Mistalee

The author characterized the FRANCHISES as worthless, not the vitamins. Please try to keep up.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Whereas Don Lapre was an indicted con man. Does THAT suggest who you can trust?

Michael Smith
Michael Smith

I see you making lots of claims, but no proof, Mr. District Attorney.

Jake_V
Jake_V

even if they didn't, I dont think any other industry in the U.S. has as much lobbying power as the likes of Astrazeneca  and Pfizer.  These companies get the FDA to allow drugs onto the market that end up killing people before study's are sufficiently carried out.  The FDA is a joke.  This administration, along with the last, lets say 7 or 8, is a joke.  The fact this can go on, when stuff like Marijuana has been show to be better for health, and of course is illegal, is a fucking crime.

Jason
Jason

Stan,

Indicting & convicting Don helps to advance the cure for your definition of stupid. Unfortunately, freedom of speech will never cure your pitifully moronic comment. 

Michael Smith
Michael Smith

"For the Feds could get to this point they had to have an extremely solid case." What are you smoking? Do you just lick their boots when they provide "evidence" that you should? Um, why did we invade Iraq after 9/11? Why wasn't bin Laden ever officially charged with a crime? Did you SEE the burned bodies of children at Waco? You can find them online... if you got the guts. Janet Reno really 'helped' them! And your logic is totally faulty.

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