Pitchman Accused of Bilking Customers Out of $52 Million

A grand jury has indicted a Phoenix-based TV pitchman accused of running a nationwide scheme to sell essentially worthless Internet-based businesses to more than 200,000 people.

Bill and cash
Bill and cash

Federal prosecutors say Donald Lapre is charged with 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and promotional money laundering. He's accused of overseeing and promoting the opportunity through his company called "The Greatest Vitamin in the World."

During the course of the scheme, the government says at least 220,000 victims were defrauded of nearly $52 million.

Lapre was often seen on television giving his hard-luck life story and how he was able to turn his life around. He refers to himself on his website as "The King of Infomercials."

Lapre has not responded to an email seeking comment.