Defunct Patent Firm That Matthew Whitaker Advised Posted Video Featuring Trump (#GotBitcoin?)
World Patent Marketing, Inc. shut down last year after Federal Trade Commission accused it of scamming $26 million from consumers.
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.Go back