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Television pitchman Don Lapre, known for his late-night/early-morning infomercials, was found dead in his Tempe, AZ prison cell after an apparent suicide.
According to NJ.com, Lapre was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, facing 41 counts of fraud and conspiracy for selling what he called “The Greatest Vitamin in the World.” The FDA called his claims bogus, saying that his claims were clearly not supported by any real evidence. He was initially warned in 2005, but continued to sell the product, which he claimed could cure everything from diabetes and heart disease to cancer.
TMZ reports that it is unclear exactly how he died, but officials are currently investigating.
Lapre allegedly scammed 220,000 people out of $52 million, according to ABC News.
Lapre became known for his mid-’90s commercial where he claimed you could make $50,000 just by placing ‘tiny classified ads’ in newspapers. He became so popular, that David Spade even parodied him on Saturday Night Live.
This is the ad that the FDA alleges was clear fraud: