The Seedy Underside of TV Pitchmen

The other day, the Hillsborough County medical examiner's office released the results of its autopsy. The medical examiner "concluded that cocaine use caused or contributed to the development of his heart disease, and thereby contributed to his death."

The office said Mays last used cocaine in the few days before his death but was not under the influence of the drug when he died. There was nothing in the toxicology report to indicate the frequency of his cocaine use.

The toxicology tests also showed therapeutic amounts of painkillers hydrocodone, oxycodone and tramadol, as well as anti-anxiety drugs alprazolam and diazepam. Mays had suffered hip problems and was scheduled for hip replacement surgery the day after he was found dead.

Apparently, it was a mess that even OxiClean couldn't clean up.

Miracle Weight Loss and Cancer-Curing Drugs

It is usually said that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. But when somebody is sick and a salesman is convincing, we often set aside good judgment.

Back in January, a federal judge ordered infomercial marketer Kevin Trudeau to pay more than $37 million in fines. It was the latest in a long string of court rulings against the pitchman. The fine was for violating a 2004 stipulated order by misrepresenting the content of his book, "The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About."

Trudeau first ran into trouble with the government back in 1998 when the FTC filed a lawsuit charging him with making false and misleading claims in infomercials for products he claimed could cause significant weight loss and cure addictions to heroin, alcohol and cigarettes, as well as enable users to achieve a photographic memory.

Nothing prohibits Trudeau from writing and selling a book. There is freedom of speech, after all. But when he started going on TV promoting various remedies and making health claims about products, the FTC determined that he crossed a line.

The book promotes a diet that limits calories to 500 a day, requires colonics and forbids frequenting chain restaurants. It also banned the use of artificial sweeteners and sugar, medications, meat and poultry, and microwave ovens.

Trudeau said on his infomercials that after he completed the diet, he could eat whatever he wanted and not gain any weight.

"I had a big prime rib marbled with fat," he said on one such commercial. "For dessert, I had a big hot fudge sundae with real ice cream, real hot fudge, real nuts and real whipped cream."

Now it looks like the only fat he will be trimming is in his bank account.

ShamWow Doesn't Wow Hooker

Vince Shlomi, best known for hawking the ShamWow and the Slap Chop under the name Vince Offer, was charged with felony aggravated battery for a Feb. 9 incident in Miami Beach, where he allegedly punched a prostitute in his hotel room. The back story: She allegedly bit his tongue and wouldn't let go.

We guess his $1,000 purchase didn't come with the same money-back guarantee that he offers with the ShamWow.

Shlomi and the woman, Sasha Lenea Harris, 26, were both arrested, but prosecutors later declined to file charges.

After freeing his tongue, Shlomi -- apparently bleeding -- ran to the lobby of the posh Setai hotel. Security guards summoned the cops. Shlomi had suffered minor injuries, and he was treated at a local hospital. The police reported that both the prostitute and the TV pitchman smelled of booze.

We wonder what he will be slap-chopping in his next commercial.

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