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The Associated Press'(AP)
Report On The McCorkle Trial

Infomercial King Guilty

Collapses as Verdict is Read

The Associated Press
O R L A N D O, Fla., Nov. 4 — Infomercial pitchman William J. McCorkle collapsed today after jurors returned guilty verdicts in an 85-count federal indictment charging him with deceiving his customers out of millions of dollars.

McCorkle was taken to a hospital while the verdict was being read.

McCorkle, 32, and his 30-year-old wife, Chantal, were charged with fraud, conspiracy, obtaining a credit card and a Social Security number under false pretenses and laundering several million dollars into offshore bank accounts. She was convicted on 69 charges.

Each could be ordered to serve up to 19½ years in prison and fined $250,000.

McCorkle’s companies sold videos and pamphlets that promised to teach customers how to make money on foreclosed real estate. Federal prosecutors said McCorkle misled customers and refused to issue refunds when they were dissatisfied.

In his infomercials, the boyish-looking, get-rich-quick guru would talk enthusiastically about how he had gone from a poor child who was once evicted from his family’s home to a real-estate millionaire.

Prosecutors contend the couple made $28 million from their businesses.

The couple has denied they misled people and said they refunded money to unhappy customers. They did not testify in their own behalf during the nine-week trial.

Before deliberations began Tuesday, famed defense attorney F. Lee Bailey said McCorkle was a fair businessman who always took the high road in his dealings and issued 38,800 refunds totaling $4 million over the years—without the government making him do it.

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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