Matthew Whitaker, who will become President Donald Trump’s acting attorney general in light of Jeff Sessions’ departure, is a former U.S. attorney in Iowa but also sat on the advisory board of an invention-marketing company based in Miami, according to the Miami New Times.
That company was shut down by the Federal Trade Commission last year amid accusations it was a scam.
> Whitaker not only sat on the board of World Patent Marketing but also sent a threatening email to a former customer who had complained after he spent thousands of dollars and did not receive the promised services. Court records obtained by New Timesfor a 2017 feature about the fraudulent companyshow that in one email to a disgruntled customer, Whitaker touted his background as a former federal attorney and declared that filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and "smearing" the company online could result in "serious civil and criminal consequences."
> World Patent Marketing collected millions of dollars by promising starry-eyed inventors it would turn their inventions into best sellers. Company reps claimed invention ideas were reviewed by an illustrious board that included big names such as Whitaker, Republican Congressman Brian Mast, and time-travel scientist Ronald Mallett. (A Mast spokesman denied that the congressman was on the board and said he never accepted compensation, though he did take a campaign contribution he later returned.)
> In reality, at least some of the board members simply took cash without meeting with inventors or reviewing any pitches. Some of the supposed innovations the company green-lit already existed, so patent applications were regularly denied. And despite the many supposed success stories listed on its website, virtually none of the firm's clients ever made money. Once customers paid, World Patent Marketing provided little of what was promised. And when customers complained or declared they would write negative reviews, Cooper unleashed wild threats. Some of them came from Whitaker. In one provided to New Times, he accused an investor of "possible blackmail or extortion" and threatened "serious civil or criminal consequences."
The company allegedly took inventors for as much as $400,000 each, according to the FTC.
Cooper and the company settled with the FTC in May of this year.
> A judgment of $25,987,192 was entered in favor of the FTC. Cooper and World Patent Marketing were also banned from working in invention promotion.
> Those who lost money in the scam are still waiting to receive any kind of compensation.