- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2011

PHOENIX (AP) - Federal authorities have arrested a Phoenix-based TV pitchman who failed to show for his arraignment.

Donald Lapre is charged with running a nationwide scheme to sell essentially worthless Internet-based businesses.

A grand jury indicted him on 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and promotional money laundering. He’s accused of encouraging people to sell worthless vitamins through a company called “The Greatest Vitamin in the World.”

The government says at least 220,000 people were defrauded of nearly $52 million.

An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for the 46-year-old Lapre after he was a no-show at his arraignment. The U.S. Marshals Service says deputies arrested him Thursday night in Tempe. No other details were released.

It’s not immediately clear whether Lapre has a lawyer yet.





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