Donald Lapre, a Phoenix-based infomercial pitchman who had been indicted of fraud for allegedly selling phony vitamins, was found dead of an apparent suicide in his prison cell, according to a U.S Marshal's Office spokesman.
Lapre, 47, who was found about 8:30 a.m. Sunday at a federal-contract prison facility in Florence, Ariz, said Matt Hershey, supervisory deputy U.S. Marshal.
Hershey would not give details on how Lapre killed himself. Hershey says the death remains under investigation.Lapre had attempted suicide on June 2, when U.S. marshals with a warrant for his arrest found him at a Tempe gym with a deep gash in his groin area. Marshals believe had had tried to kill himself by slicing his femoral artery.
Lapre's trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday.
A grand jury had indicted Lapre on 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering in connection to his company "The Greatest Vitamin in the World." Lapre, who personally touted his vitamins in TV infomercials, was accused of scamming at least 220,000 people by selling worthless vitamins, using get-rich-quick pyramid schemes and phony Internet businesses.
Customers and investors spent nearly $51.8 million, but only about $6.4 million was returned in commissions to about 5,000 victims, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.