Don Lapre

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Don Lapre
Donald D. Lapre

(1964-05-19)May 19, 1964
DiedOctober 2, 2011(2011-10-02) (aged 47)
OccupationTelevision direct-response pitchman
Years active1988–2011

Donald D. Lapre (May 19, 1964 – October 2, 2011)[1] was an American multi-level marketing and infomercial salesman. His work involved product packages such as "The Greatest Vitamin in the World" and "Making Money Secrets".

Lapre was criticized as selling questionable business plans that often did not work for his clients. In June 2011, Lapre was charged with 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and promotional money laundering related to his Internet businesses. He was arrested on June 24, 2011, for failing to appear in court to face these charges.[2]

He died on October 2, 2011, while in jail awaiting trial. The autopsy report stated that he died of blood loss after cutting his throat with a razor blade.

Business ventures[edit]

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Lapre moved to Phoenix, Arizona with his family when he was a child. He married Sally Redondo in 1988.[3] A high-school dropout,[4] Lapre, together with his wife, started a credit repair business called Unknown Concepts in 1990. Lapre then began selling a 36-page booklet explaining how to recover a Federal Housing Administration insurance refund after paying off a home mortgage. He also began offering "900" phone lines. On TV infomercials in the early–mid 1990s, he claimed that by placing "tiny classified ads" in newspapers he was "able to make $50,000 a week from [his] tiny one-bedroom apartment".[5]

In 1992, Lapre began broadcasting The Making Money Show with Don Lapre, which suggested that viewers could make money as easily as he had. For several years the show was ranked among the 10 most frequently broadcast cable television infomercials. The principal product was Lapre's "Money Making Secrets", a package of booklets, tapes, and common-sense tips for placing ads and operating a 900-number business. The product was sold through New Strategies, whose parent company was Tropical Beaches.[4]

He later began broadcasting infomercials for "The Greatest Vitamin in the World".[6] In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned Lapre about claims his vitamins were intended as a drug for diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, insomnia, cancer, and arthritis. The FDA stated "[his] products [were] not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced conditions."[7] In 2006, the FDA again warned Lapre about untruthful claims.[8]


According to a June 15, 2011, Associated Press article, Lapre was indicted by a federal grand jury in Phoenix, Arizona, on June 8, 2011, on accusations of running a nationwide scheme to sell worthless Internet businesses. Federal prosecutors accused Lapre of bilking more than 220,000 victims out of nearly $52 million. He was charged with 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, promotional money laundering, and transactional money laundering.[9][10][11] A federal judge issued a bench warrant for Lapre on June 22, 2011, after he failed to appear at his arraignment.[12][13]

On June 27, 2011, Lapre was arrested in Tempe, Arizona, at a Life Time Fitness center, where he had reportedly lived for two days, with serious self-inflicted knife wounds to his groin. The wounds led authorities to believe Lapre had attempted suicide while at Life Time Fitness by attempting to sever the femoral artery in his legs.[14]


Lapre died on October 2, 2011, while in jail awaiting his trial, which was scheduled to begin on October 4, 2011. The autopsy report stated that he died of massive blood loss after cutting his throat with a razor blade and had wrapped himself in sheets to conceal the massive blood loss from anyone who might try to save him.[15]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ "Incarcerated TV Pitchman Don Lapre Found Dead". Archived from the original on October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  2. ^ "TV pitchman arrested after missing appearance". Associated Press. June 23, 2011.
  3. ^ Davhi Shira. "INSIDE STORY: Infomercial King Don Lapre's High-Octane Life – and Shocking Suicide". People Magazine. Retrieved 2015-01-16.
  4. ^ a b Leigh Farr. "Don Wan". Phoenix New Times. Archived from the original on 2000-08-24. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
  5. ^ Don Lapre Sells Tiny Classified Ads on YouTube
  6. ^ Don Lapre Sells Greatest Vitamin in the World on YouTube
  7. ^ "Cyber Letters" (PDF). 2015-06-30. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  8. ^ "Cyber Letters" (PDF). 2015-06-30. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  9. ^ Jun. 15, 2011 10:59 AM Associated Press (2011-06-15). "Phoenix-based TV pitchman Donald Lapre accused of bilking 220,000 out of $52M". Retrieved 2011-11-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "United States of America v. Donald Lapre" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  11. ^ "News Headlines". 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  12. ^ "Don Lapre, Vitamin Titan, Attempted Suicide, Hid Out at Lifetime Fitness".
  13. ^ "TV pitchman arrested after missing appearance - Wire TV News -". Archived from the original on June 26, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
  14. ^ "U.S. Marshals: Phoenix-based pitchman found wounded near Tempe gym where he hid out". Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  15. ^ "King Of Infomercials Don Lapre Used A Razor Blade To Kill Himself | South Florida Chronicle". October 5, 2011. Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2011.