TV pitchman charged with fraud a no show at court

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PHOENIX (AP) -- An Arizona judge has issued a bench warrant for 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.

A U.S. Marshals Service spokesman says the agency is actively looking for Lapre, who has not responded to an email or phone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment. It's not clear if he has a lawyer.