The demise of Don Lapre.
3:35 PM, Oct 3, 2011 • By VICTORINO MATUS
At some point while mindlessly channel-surfing, you no doubt stumbled on a Don Lapre infomercial. Here's one in which Lapre is touting a scheme involving "tiny classified ads" that could "earn you a fortune" of $50,000 a week without even leaving the comfort of your home.
I think it was the whining wind-up to his pitch that caught my attention and held it there for a good few minutes as I tried to figure out what it was Lapre was selling.
Lapre was later caught up in fraud charges. As Fox's Phoenix affiliate reports:
The final tally came to 220,000 people defrauded at a cost of $52 million. And yes, you read that right: Lapre was living in a gym.
But yesterday Lapre was found dead in his cell—an apparent suicide. There is a website, donlapre.com, that (assuming it was created by Lapre) makes pretty clear he was at the end of his rope, so to speak. He writes, in part,
Lapre then adds, "I hope the pictures below motivate you to take a chance in life and try to do the impossible." What follows are pictures of his lavish home, which I imagine would only enrage those he allegedly defrauded. And then there are the pictures, one assumes, of his children. It's equal parts heartbreaking and disturbing.
A classmate of mine got into the vitamin-selling business. I don't remember the name of the company but he took me to lunch one day and asked if I'd be interested in doing the same. All I needed to do is attend a few seminars. (His initial questions to me revolved around happiness and job satisfaction. Needless to say, I was quite content being an assistant editor and not hawking vitamins my classmate swore I'd be able to feel.)