Defunct Patent Firm That Matthew Whitaker Advised Posted Video Featuring Trump (#GotBitcoin?)
The now-defunct Florida company where Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker served as a paid advisory-board member once posted a promotional video featuring someone who has since risen to even greater heights in the administration: Donald Trump.
It is the latest twist in the story of World Patent Marketing Inc., which has attracted a sudden spotlight since Mr. Trump appointed Mr. Whitaker to lead the Justice Department last week after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was ousted. The Trump Organization, which licenses Mr. Trump’s name, wasn’t aware of World Patent Marketing or the video, according to a person familiar with the matter, suggesting the video wasn’t authorized.
The video, titled “Donald Trump—What World Patent Marketing Customer’s [sic] Can Learn,” was posted in August 2015. The video, which remains online, is about three minutes long and includes still photos of Mr. Trump along with general business-advice quotes attributed to him.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
World Patent Marketing shut down last year after the Federal Trade Commission accused it of scamming $26 million from consumers. The company offered to patent and promote inventions, but instead delivered little and threatened customers who complained, the FTC charged.
Mr. Whitaker was paid $9,375 by the company as an advisory board member and wrote a threatening letter to at least one unhappy customer, according to FTC court filings. He also appeared in two videos the company used to promote itself.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation—which Mr. Whitaker now oversees— is conducting a criminal investigation of World Patent Marketing, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
“Acting attorney general Matt Whitaker has said he is not aware of any fraudulent activity,” a Justice Department spokeswoman said last week. “Any stories suggesting otherwise are false.” The Justice Department declined to comment on the video of Mr. Trump.
The promotional Trump video was cited in at least one court document filed by the FTC, in a declaration from an unhappy customer who said he saw the video and believed Mr. Trump was recommending the company.
The customer, Ralph Dyer, of Boynton Beach, Fla., said in an interview Monday that the Trump video helped the company “seem like it was legit.” A retired police officer, Mr. Dyer said he had read one of Mr. Trump’s books years earlier and long admired him.
Mr. Dyer said he took out a high-interest loan to pay the company $14,000 to patent and promote a GPS-location idea, but he never obtained a patent and nobody from the company would return his calls. “It was definitely a scam,” said Mr. Dyer, who said he was still paying off the loan on a fixed income.
Neither Scott Cooper, founder of World Patent Marketing, nor his attorney responded to requests for comment.
Mr. Trump (who doesn’t speak on the video) never mentions World Patent Marketing by name in the video, which the company promoted in news releases and on platforms like Twitter and Facebook .
A logo for World Patent Marketing appears in the upper right-hand corner of the screen throughout the video.
There is no indication that the Trump Organization, which is known for aggressively protecting the Trump brand, knew about or challenged the use of Mr. Trump’s image and statements in the video.
The video said it was funded by the Cooper Idea Foundation, a nonprofit run by the founder of World Patent Marketing. A tax filing by the foundation for 2015—the year the video was posted—didn’t mention any payments to Mr. Trump’s company.
Also, Acting AG Backed Alleged ‘Invention-Promotion Scam’ Touting ‘Time Travel’ Crypto
Acting U.S. attorney general (AG) Matthew G. Whitaker has come under fire for his association with an allegedly fraudulent patent company that involved cryptocurrency, U.S. news journal MotherJones reported Nov. 14.
Whitaker, a Trump loyalist, was appointed by the U.S. president to replace former attorney general Jeff Sessions Nov. 7.
Among other controversies, Whitaker is now being scrutinized for his involvement with “World Patent Marketing,” an alleged scam that marketed sundry outlandish products from aspiring inventors, including a “theoretical time travel commodity tied directly to price of Bitcoin.”
As MotherJones reports, the marketed products also included a bespoke “masculine toilet” for “well-endowed men.”
The crypto-related product, which reportedly never came to fruition, was dubbed Time Travel X, and had been pitched as “a technology, an investment vehicle and a community of users.”
World Patent Marketing was shut down in 2017 and fined $26 million after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused it of having “bilked thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars,” and fleecing its hopeful inventor clients through bogus patent contracts. As per the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the firm is now being investigated by the FBI.
The WSJ refers to court documents that indicate Whitaker was paid $9,375 for his advisory board role, which he has reportedly not returned, even as the case has evolved beyond an FTC-led civil proceeding to potential criminal charges. The Washington Post reports that Whitaker spurned an October 2017 subpoena from the FTC seeking his personal records related to the company.
The Washington Post has cited a statement from Justice Department (DoJ) spokesperson Kerri Kupec that “acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has said he was not aware of any fraudulent activity. Any stories suggesting otherwise are false.”
Yesterday, Nov. 14, four Democrat House Representatives announced an investigation into Whitaker’s role at World Patent Marketing.
In taking over for Sessions, Whitaker assumed the latter’s oversight of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian “interference” in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
Giuliani Lawyer Advised Company Shut Down Over Fraud Complaints
Rudy Giuliani’s new lawyer advised an invention-promotion company that allegedly defrauded customers; voter enthusiasm could strain election resources in 2020.
RUDY GIULIANI’S NEW LAWYER Eric Creizman is no stranger to Washington controversy. He advised an invention-promotion company that federal regulators shut down in 2017 for allegedly defrauding customers. The company, World Patent Marketing, also employed former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. The Federal Trade Commission said the company “deceived customers” and used “threats, intimidation, and gag clauses.”
The company president threatened customers in emails, the FTC said, including one where he threatened costly litigation and introduced the customer to company attorneys including Creizman. Creizman later complied with federal subpoenas and was never accused of wrongdoing. Creizman told the Journal that he didn’t want to be on the advisory board, and that his name was added to the board without his consent. He later backtracked and said he figured there was no harm in being on the board, which he described as a way to make “customers more comfortable with the company.”
“I never understood the company to be a fraud,” Creizman said, though he was aware there was a class action lawsuit against the company alleging fraud.
Creizman previously represented George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign staffer who served two weeks in prison for making false statements to the FBI about Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election. He is one of three lawyers now representing Giuliani in relation to his activities in Ukraine.
OFF-THE-CHARTS voter enthusiasm could strain election resources in 2020. Nearly three-quarters of voters say they’re highly interested in the election, a number usually not seen until just before election day. Turnout in Tuesday’s Kentucky gubernatorial jumped from 31% in 2015 to 42% this year, and Pennsylvania voters complained of long lines for low-level county and municipal elections. Some blamed new touch-screen voting machines.
Civil rights groups have documented hundreds of poll closings since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Voter wait times doubled in 2018, compared with 2014, as turnout rose by 38%. Around 6% of voters reported waiting for more than 30 minutes in 2018, a tipping point for political scientists who say long wait times can depress turnout in future elections among discouraged voters. Crucially, vote times vary based on race: Black and Hispanic voters reported waiting longer than white voters.
GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENLAND: Ambassador Bill Taylor said that his work to release frozen security assistance to Ukraine was stymied because top-level cabinet officials were too busy dealing with President Trump’s idea to purchase Greenland. The idea, first reported by the Journal, “took up a lot of energy” on the National Security Council, Taylor told the House Intelligence Committee. “That’s disturbing for a whole different reason,” Chairman Adam Schiff responded.
TWITTER’S DECISION to cut out campaign ads won’t hurt its bottom line. In recent years, around 75% of Twitter’s political advertising revenue came from trade associations, advocacy groups, federal agencies and other organizations. Twitter has focused more heavily on the oil and gas, aerospace and defense industries, rather than relying on political campaigns that were already spending less on its platform. Politics is usually close to last in terms of revenue among Twitter’s dozen-plus sales verticals.
REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES in 2018 elections lost support in areas most exposed to tariffs from U.S. trading partners in the midst of the trade war. Worse, they didn’t see electoral gains in areas where employment was protected by new U.S. tariffs, a new analysis by Dartmouth College and Peterson Institute economists shows. By mapping the geographic distribution of exposure to the trade war and 2018 voting patterns, the researchers posit that five of Republicans’ lost House seats were driven by retaliatory tariffs, mostly on agricultural products.
DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY VOTERS suggest in a recent WSJ/NBC News poll that they are looking for revolution more than restoration. Some 37% say they want a nominee who will build on President Obama’s legacy, while 55% say they want someone who will take a new and different approach. Joe Biden leads among the former group; Bernie Sanders leads among the latter.
COMMITTEE TURF WARS prevent Congress from tackling diffuse problems like student loan debt, says freshman Rep. Katie Porter. The California Democrat says that giving one committee jurisdiction over the securitization and underwriting process and another committee responsibility for the federal government’s student debt portfolio means no panel has ownership of the politically unpopular topic. The broken structure, which also affects data privacy and corporate bankruptcy, “allows some of the most pressing issues to fall through the cracks,” she said.
MINOR MEMOS: Netflix gives viewers an on-screen button to skip political jokes in new Seth Meyers stand-up special.… Trump acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney wears Montreal Expos hat to Washington Nationals celebration at White House.… Man who changed his name to “Nobody” runs for governor of New Hampshire. Defunct Patent Firm That,Defunct Patent Firm That,Defunct Patent Firm That,Defunct Patent Firm That,Defunct Patent Firm That,Defunct Patent Firm That,Defunct Patent Firm That,Defunct Patent Firm That,Defunct Patent Firm That