Trump's acting attorney general was part of firm US accused of vast scam


politics
Trump's acting attorney general was part of firm US accused of vast scam

FILE PHOTO: Chief of Staff to the Attorney General Matthew Whitaker attends a roundtable discussion with foreign liaison officers at the Justice Department in Washington, U.S., August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Allison Shelley/File PhotoDonald Trumps new acting attorney general was part of a company accused by the US government of operating a multimillion-dollar scam.

Matthew Whitaker was paid to sit on the advisory board of World Patent Marketing, which was ordered in May this year to pay a $26 million settlement following legal action by federal authorities.

Whitaker was appointed acting attorney general on Wednesday afternoon after attorney general Jeff Sessions was fired by Donald Trump.

A court filing in the case said that Whitaker received regular payments of $1,875 to represent the Florida-based company, which allegedly tricked aspiring inventors.

Whitaker publicly vouched for the company, claiming in a December 2014 statement that they “go beyond making statements about doing business ethically and translate those words into action.”

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Whitaker said at the time: “I would only align myself with a first class organization.”

World Patent Marketing and its founder, Scott Cooper, were sued by the Federal Trade Commission in March last year. The government said it had “operated an invention-promotion scam that has bilked thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars”.

The company was accused of tricking hopeful inventors into paying it thousands of dollars to obtain patents and licensing deals for their inventions. In fact, they “failed to fulfill almost every promise they make to consumers,” the complaint said.

In May this year, a judgment requiring World Patent Marketing to pay the government $25,987,192 was entered against the company by a federal court in southern Florida. Whitaker was not named among the defendants in the case.

Cooper later agreed to hand over $1m in assets and the proceeds of the sale of his $3.5m home in return for the rest of the judgment being suspended.

Whitaker, who was appointed acting attorney general by the president, right on the heels of the midterm elections, could not immediately be reached for comment.

By: The Guardian

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