Jeff Sessions is out, and the new acting U.S. attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, comes with some business baggage that should sound alarm bells for American voters, amid an ongoing crackdown on financial fraud.
Nor is this baggage old: Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission shut down a Florida-based company called World Patent Marketing and served it with a $26-million judgment. In 2014, Whitaker was named a board member of the company—described by the FTC as “a scam that has bilked thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars”.
When accepting his position on the board, Whitaker called the company a “trusted partner to many inventors that believe in the American Dream”.
Fast forward to 2018, and the “American Dream” is evidently to be defrauded.
Neither was Whitaker a silent board member. The Miami New Times obtained court records showing that in August 2015, Whitaker penned an email to a disgruntled customer, noting that he was a former federal attorney and suggesting in no uncertain terms that if the customer filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau it would result in “serious civil and criminal consequences”.
"I am a former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa," the email says. "I am assuming you understand that there could be serious civil and criminal consequences for you" if the customer filed a complaint, Whitaker wrote, adding, "Understand that we take threats like this quite seriously." Related: Salesforce CEO Reaches Out To Musk To Dig A Tunnel Under San Francisco
The FTC complaint also noted that World Patent Marketing cultivated an atmosphere of fear through emails that described a company "security team" of "all ex-Israeli Special Ops and trained in Krav Maga, one of the most deadly of the martial arts”.
The complaint further described a blog post distributed by the company through an email to all customers boasting “about their role in having a former employee arrested on extortion charges”.
The Florida daily reports that World Patent Marketing founder and CEO Scott Cooper donated $2,600 to Whitaker’s 2014 Senate campaign, and cites internal company records as detailing a $10,000 payout to Whitaker before the company was forced to close down.
The company agreed to a settlement with the FTC in May, and a court banned it from the invention promotion business entirely. At the same time, the $26-million judgment was suspended in return for Cooper’s agreement to just shy of $1 million.
According to the FTC, “consumers paid the defendants thousands of dollars to patent and market their inventions based on bogus “success stories” and testimonials. After stringing consumers along for months or even years, the defendants did not deliver what they promised, and many people ended up in debt or lost their life savings with nothing to show for it.”
In all, the company for which Whitaker was a board member and consultant followed the American Dream by taking advantage of inventors to the tune of nearly $26 million—the amount of the FTC judgement against it.
Now, he’s acting AG and a figure that could undercut the authority of Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. That’s a lot of decision-making authority for a big name behind a big scam.
By Fred Dunkley for Safehaven.com
More Top Reads From Safehaven.com: