Don Lapre, a TV infomercial pitchman accused of fraud, was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Arizona jail cell on Sunday, just two days before his trial was scheduled to begin, according to reports.
Lapre, 47, was accused of misleading thousands of people nationwide through a scheme to sell worthless vitamins by using pyramid schemes and phony Internet businesses.
Authorities said they believe Lapre committed suicide at a facility in Florence, and his death is under investigation.
A grand jury indicted Lapre in June on 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and promotional money laundering through his company, The Greatest Vitamin in the World.
The company is believed to have scammed at least 220,000 victims out of nearly $52 million.
The Phoenix-based pitchman told infomercial viewers that he was making $50,000 a week from his one-bedroom apartment. He claimed that he would support the hundreds of thousands of people he recruited to help sell vitamins online. His company then pushed investors to purchase additional advertising and other services.
Lapre's company was shut down in 2007 after customers filed hundreds of complaints.