Authorities report that Donald Lapre, the disgraced Phoenix-based vitamin seller and alleged fraud, was found dead in his Florence prison cell on Sunday, reports The Arizona Republic. Lapre has been in federal custody since July on multiple charges of fraud, money-laundering and conspiracy stemming from his heavily-promoted business, the Greatest Vitamin in the World.
The pill pitchman and alleged fraudster faced 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, promotional money laundering and transactional money laundering. Lapre allegedly cheated hundreds of thousands of consumers and investors out of hefty commission checks that were promised in exchange for investing in his products.
Most criminal fraud offenses are considered felony crimes, and Lapre faced several years in jail and hefty fines. He could have also been charged with civil offenses and forced to pay restitution to his alleged victims. Lapre allegedly defrauded 220,000 victims of nearly $52 million. His trial was set for October 4.
The death has been called an apparent suicide, although details of how he killed himself or if he was alone in his cell at the time have not been released. The U.S. Department of Justice officials previously stated that he may have suffered from anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. In addition, Lapre told U.S. Marshalls that he had self-inflicted stab wounds before he was arrested on June 23, reports The Republic.
Late-night viewers may recognize Donald Lapre, the self-described “King of Infomercials,” through his many commercials promoting his life-saving vitamin products. Unfortunately, it looks like his vitamin business led to Lapre taking his life, instead of saving it.
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