Attorney General

EXCLUSIVE: Read Desperate Emails From People Scammed by A.G. Matt Whitaker's Business Associates

"My husband, who is a retired veteran, allowed me to use our savings. My fear of course, they have taken my money and never intended to file the patent."

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Chris Kleponis—Pool via CNP / MEGA / Newscom

When current acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker joined the advisory board of a Florida patent firm in 2014, he was quoted in a company press release saying he "would only align myself with a first class organization."

Three years later, the company was shut down, but not before it bilked hundreds of customers, some of them elderly veterans, out of millions of dollars.

In response to a public records request to the Florida Attorney General's Office, Reason received 47 pages of consumer complaints regarding World Patent Marketing. The complaints date from 2014, when Whitaker joined the firm's advisory board, to 2017, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shut the firm down for deceptive business practices.

Read the consumer complaints here.

An FTC investigation concluded that the Miami patent firm, which claimed to patent and market promising inventions, scammed 1,504 customers out of more than $26 million in its three years of existence.

"After stringing consumers along for months or even years, the defendants did not deliver what they promised," the FTC wrote in a press release announcing its May court settlement in its case against WPM, "and many people ended up in debt or lost their life savings with nothing to show for it."

Whitaker received quarterly payments of $1,875 for his role on the board.

Whitaker, who was not named in the FTC complaint, told agency investigators that his role at the company was minimal. However, in at least two instances Whitaker sent emails to irate customers invoking his experience as a former U.S. Attorney to threaten them.

WPM used Whitaker's name to both burnish its credentials and scare the many customers who said the company took their money and never delivered on its promises. The complaints to the Florida Attorney General show dozens of victims, some of them elderly, who fell prey to the company's tactics.

"My husband and I sent this company a lot of money," a woman from Beardstown, Illinois, who paid WPM $14,000, wrote to the Florida attorney general. "We do not have a lot of money. My husband has been very very stressed about this situation since January 15, 2015. We understand it is now in receivership and we are unsure what that means. Can you help us? My husband is a disabled Vietnam veteran."

"I've given them $25,000 of a $35,000 aside from the initial fee of $1995 and haven't sent the balance because I asked for my money back about a dozen times for lack of services and all I get are empty promises," a man from Ormond Beach, Florida, wrote. "I look forward to hearing from you regarding this unamerican act against a 75 year old veteran."

"My husband, who is a retired veteran allowed me to use our savings for a product we still believe will benefit this country, including globally," a woman from Tacoma, Washington, wrote. "My fear of course, the have taken my money and never intended to file the patent. I have made numerous phone calls and they don't respond."

One customer forwarded a letter sent to him by WPM threatening legal action after he repeatedly contacted the company trying to get his money back.

"I am writing to you on behalf of World Patent Marketing ('WPM')," an email from the "fraud department" of WPM reads. "This is a cease and desist letter, directing you to stop your defamation and libel of the company on Facebook and/or other forms of media. Should you continue, we will have to seek legal action against you for claims that include breach of contract, extortion, defamation, and tortious interference."

It was a common tactic. The FTC claimed in court filings that WPM CEO Scott Cooper, in an apparent attempt to intimidate people, would brag about how his company's security team was made up of ex-Israeli special forces trained in Krav Maga. "The World Patent Marketing Security Team are the kind of guys who are trained to knockout first and ask questions later," he wrote in one email filed in court by the FTC.

The terms of the FTC settlement require Cooper to pay $975,000 in restitution to his victims, a fraction of what WPM ultimately took from people.

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  1. Wait, he was paid $1,875 quarterly? So, like $7,500/year? I actually kind of believe that he had little to no role in anything. That doesn’t make it better. Ignorance can be as bad as ill intent. But as far as it comes to political scandals and conflicts of interest, this is like 10000X less bad than nearly everybody else in Washington.

    Glad journalists are doing their fucking jobs again, though. Keep it up. (And yes, I know Reason did great journalism through all of the Obama years, despite the rest of the industry taking time off).

    1. They sure did protect Obama.

    2. He’s the attorney general of the United States and a weirdo insane scam artist. Find some standards for god’s sake.

      1. OK, he is awful, just straight up evil, but not as bad as say someone who has been found in contempt of congress.

        That standardy enough for ya?

        1. Early days yet.

          1. Civil AND criminal contempt.

      2. And Bill Clinton was paid 18 million dollars for some some bullshit position on an advisory board of a for-profit college while Hillary was Secretary of State and while she was campaigning against for-profit colleges in 2016.

        How many other politicians and former cabinet members had bullshit “advisory board” positions at unethical places? I’m willing to bet quite a few.

        1. The issue here is not bullshit “advisory board” positions. It’s the fact that he clearly knew what this company was doing and assisted it in scamming people by sending complainants threatening letters invoking his past as a US Attorney. In other words, he participated directly in the fraud. He isn’t the beneficiary of featherbedding – he’s a crook.

          1. “I am assuming you understand that there could be serious civil and criminal consequences for you,” Whitaker wrote in the email. “Understand that we take threats like this quite seriously.”

            Any investor deterred by a blow hard attorney letter would be a sucker for the second time. A fool and his money are soon parted. I’m in no way condoning his actions but simply stating a veteran should not shit his pants over that “threat.” That language lets the investor know it is time to get their own attorney who will then laugh at the letter and say it’s BS.

            Hard to believe he would write any letter like that for only $7,500/year, for obvious reasons like Reason.

      3. In other news, an estimated $640M of Barack Obama’s Dept. of Justice shakedown of large banks was improperly diverted to Democrat activist organizations, many of whom are now actively opposing Trump. Kind of puts that $7,500 per year Whitaker received for merely being on the board in perspective. Much less, Obama’s cronies at the DOJ were using their government positions to improperly direct where the money was to go. Do you also care to talk about Obama giving at least $1.7B to the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran? There are so many improper and illegal activities that went on during Obsma’s two terms, it would fill volumes. Care to continue?

        1. Lotta derp in this comment.

          1. Well reasoned retort!

        2. So, the defense of “hey, this looks like wrongdoing” is “Oh yeah, look over there! Those guys are way worse?”

          I think I’ll use that the next time I get a speeding ticket, and see how it works. “Never mind how fast I was going, your honor, did you know that former first lady Laura Bush once killed a guy? And Bill Clinton had sex and then lied about it. I think we’re done here…”

          1. In a world where there’s a distinct shortage of people with clean hands, that’s actually a reasonable response.

      4. This seems to make Whittaker more qualified to be Governor of Illinois… or New York.

    3. Reason doing investigations!

      It might be small, but at least they’re investigating something! Maybe this is the beginning of them ditching their lifestyle magazine model.

    4. Its sad that a dude who is sitting in the AG’s chair – with a comfy salary, benefits, and a stepping stone to higher political office – things less than 8 grand a year is worth being associated with a company whose very name sounds like a scam.

    5. And yes, I know Reason did great journalism through all of the Obama years, despite the rest of the industry taking time off

      Not exactly. Reason reports matter-of-factly about horrific Democrat scandals, then nitpicks and embellishes GOP shortcomings and claims that they are equivalent.

      1. Yeah! W got us into a war that we still haven’t finished up, and Obama gave you some money to help find a new doctor. Hardly equivalent…

        1. What money to find a doctor? Premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed while the FSA was cut in half.

          1. You’re saying you can’t account for the missing money? And you think that makes someone else suspicious-looking?

            1. Fuck you Pollock. I lost my insurance over faggot Obama’s commie health plan. If you support him or that plan you’re a goddamn traitor.

  2. It takes a special kind of scum to defraud veterans and old people, no?

    1. You ain’t wrong.

    2. John McCain’s estate on line 2. Says “leave Keating FIve out of this.”

      1. … and McCain didn’t get to be President.

        1. (See also: Kennedy, Edward).

  3. I have a couple questions about this firm’s product, the Masculine Toilet. It was marketed as serving those whose penises are above the average of 5-6 inches in length. But that is surely average erect length. Who is squatting with a boner? What toilet design would make that work? You normally just have to wait it out, right?

    Also, when Trump says he hires the best people, does he mean the best people he scouted at a Sasquatch convention (Matt Whitaker also sold Sasquatch memorabilia, promising DNA proof of its existence).

    1. You’re joking, but I knew a guy who kept getting UTIs because his dick would hang into the water.

    2. Flaccid length, as a percentage of erect length, varies even more widely than erect length.

      Basically, two dudes might have a 6 in stiffy, one’s going to be 4.5 inches flaccid and the other will look like a button.

      1. And then there’s depth-to-water to take in to consideration. There’s some variation in toilets and the water levels they allow. Some are deep enough that you have to worry about splash when you drop a load.

        1. We’re seriously thinking of investing in one of those Japanese numbers that do all the work for you, maybe even one that does a poof of powder at the end. Anyone have one of these?

          1. I would think your house has all the poofs it needs.

            1. You’re telling me.

          2. I’m pretty much 100% with Tony on all this except I regularly poop with a boner because I imagine the big, smooth, chestnut brown log being extruded from my wrinkly portal is Tony withdrawing.

            1. My flesh tone is actually somewhere between alabaster and apricot.

              1. today I learned alabaster is a color.

              2. I figured but unfortunately I don’t know what I’d have to eat to perform the kind of disgestive alchemy that would produce the desired coloring.

                Okay I’ma just take a minute to stand back and think about how horribly messed up this is.

          3. Got hooked on the concept in Japan.
            Worth it.

  4. Maybe Whitaker is a shitbag and a liar and a crook.

    There is literally NOTHING in this article, nor any of the linked articles to which you could make that claim stick.

    The article says Whitaker sent two emails. The Guardian article linked mentions one.

    He started on the advisory board (along with a bunch of other people) in 2014. Nothing mentions if and when he left the board. And seriously $1875 per quarter??

    Cooper supposedly bilked people out of something like $25 million. The Clinton foundation got hundreds of millions of dollars from Russians, while she was SOS, but THIS is a big deal!

    1. Another article I found states that Whitaker received a grand total of $9375. That is 5 quarters worth of pay. 15 months. If he joined in 2014, that means that he was no longer on the board at worst, by the beginning of 2016.

      1. I can clear part of that up for you here: “financial records show that the company paid Whitaker at least $9,375 between October 2014 and late February 2016, and owed him $7,500 more for work between May 2016 and February 2017.”

        1. So actually Whitaker was one of the creditors that the company bilked.

    2. And as far as the “threatening” emails (I have found only one), it doesn’t even “threaten” anyone. It doesn’t even rise to the level of a “cease and desist” letter.

      And we don’t know what the original sender actually wrote in his email. Perhaps it really did sound like blackmail. In addition, the email was dated Aug 21, 2015. So Whitaker had been on the board for about 9 months.

      Nothing in the complain against WPM even remotely hints at Whitaker’s involvement.

    3. If Whitiaker was in on the scam he would have been paid a hell of a lot more than $1875 a quarter. It appears he was brought in for respectability and had no idea that the people he was dealing with were crooks. Indeed, no one did, or they wouldn’t have been able to steal all of that money. This is just bullshit.

      1. The point is, he’s not thorough or careful; both are qualities an AG should possess.

        1. If he had a (D) after his name John would think this was literally the biggest scandal since Teapot Dome. It’s something you just have to factor in when John talks.

        2. Which is no point. What matters in an AG is whether he is honest and qualified. Loretta Lynch was thorough and careful and also a complete crook.

          1. Wouldn’t a thorough and careful crook figure out that there are more clandestine ways to formulate an illegal plot with Bill Clinton than to meet him on the tarmac in front of the entire world?

            1. Not when there would be no possibility of prosecution, no.

              The coverup is often the thing that takes them down.

              1. I encourage you to keep fucking this chicken, as it may be a necessary salve as yet more Trump associates and family members get sent to the slammer.

                1. I don’t think a single sane person believes the story concocted about that tarmac meeting.

                  Which is why you believe it.

                  1. I believe it: Lynch – “Hey Bill, how’s it going? I’ve been spending a lot of time with the grandchildren so I haven’t had time to give you a call”. Clinton – “Going well. Now, here is what Comey is going to say about Hillary’s home email server, that is, unless you want those grandchildren of yours to end up pushing daisies”.

                2. Tony|12.27.18 @ 4:01PM|#
                  “…Trump associates…”
                  To our resident shitbag, this means someone who at least knew Trump at sometime in their lives, and perhaps worked for him at one time or other

                  “…and family members get sent to the slammer.”
                  Cite, shitbag?

                  1. “‘…and family members get sent to the slammer.’
                    Cite”

                    The “dateable” offspring used private email to conduct government business.
                    I was assured multiple times by multiple people, right here on this very website, that anybody who wasn’t Hillary Clinton who did that would be sent to prison.

                    1. Hillary had classified docs on her server, in her position as SoS. Ivanka is not SoS, amd did not send or receive classified information action via private email

                      Are you reall this stupid? Or are you just disingenuous.

          2. I am told by punditry that since Nixon, the AG has the primary job of looking out for the President.

            If that is true, then this is literally nothing.

        3. Mattis was on the Theranos board. A multi-billion dollar scam, where they didn’t even deliver anything as useful as an extra large toilet. No one seems to have had anything bad to say about his involvement in that.

          If being a Theranos board member isn’t a disqualifier than neither is this.

          Though, your free to argue that being a Theranos board member *should* have been a disqualifier and so should this.

          As for me, this would be enough for me not to nominate him if I was President, but it doesn’t really worry me in terms of him being AG, it just means that he didn’t figure out the scam while on the board.

          I mean you could also not want him as AG, because you just don’t like the guy.

        4. The point is, he’s not thorough or careful; both are qualities an AG should possess.

          And there go the goalposts!

          The article implies that he is a crooked scammer who took advantage of desperate consumers. Not that he is insufficiently careful.

          He’s also not the AG.

      2. “If Whitiaker was in on the scam he would have been paid a hell of a lot more than $1875 a quarter.”

        I will concede to not really knowing much about how criminal enterprises are operated and revenues shared. Mind describing how you came by this knowledge?

        1. I’ll concede you’re probably both a liar and an idiot.

    4. yep. If the emails actually contained threats, they would have quoted them to add oomph to the charge, so I knew right away they were “using hyperbole”.

      Reason is Vox-level trash at this point. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

    5. “There is literally NOTHING in this article, nor any of the linked articles to which you could make that claim stick.”

      He was on the advisory board. All he has to do is produce the emails and reports to the company he wrote, where he said “Remember, guys, don’t rip people off. It’s against the law. I would know”.

      I mean, was he being paid for advice that wasn’t being used? Was he being paid for advice he didn’t deliver? Did he know they were ripping people off and just go along with it? Or did he not even know what the business he was advising was actually doing?
      These are perfectly valid questions.

      Are they absolute proof positive that the guy is a liar and a crook and a no-good-rotten-bad-guy? No. But the way they point suggests some… shaky… ethics.

      He got the job he has now (for the moment) because he passed the one test Mr. Trump cares about… personal loyalty to Donald Trump. I wouldn’t pass that test, so I will definitely NOT be expecting to be nominated to be the next Attorney General. I mean, confirmation wouldn’t have worked out for me either, since I am not an attorney.

  5. Would you people rather have Christie?

    1. Maybe having someone fatter around would put Trump in a better mood.

      1. Fat people are jolly; it’s settled science. 97% of scienticians agree that fat people exude jollity at levels far in excess of that radiated by their slimmer counterparts. Just look Kim Jong Un.

        1. Christie seems to be in a foul mood even when you include the bowl-full-of-jelly factor. Imagine how much of a dick he’d be if he could see his dick.

          1. Christie was the best Governor New Jersey had in a long time. Admittedly that’s more a condemnation of our previous governors than praise of him, but still…

            1. Well, he was corrupt in a rather spectacularly petty way. Alas his big problem was the Republican party base, which never could forgive him for making human contact with Obama.

              Those guys really need to get their shit together before they fuck up this country beyond repair.

              1. Tony, we just need to cleanse the country of all you progressives. Best you leave now, before it’s not a choice anymore.

        2. “97% of scienticians agree that fat people exude jollity at levels far in excess of that radiated by their slimmer counterparts.”

          That’s performance-enhancing drugs. John Belushi, Chris Farley, late-stage Elvis…

  6. Exclusive? This looks like a report a sixth grader wrote in 10 minutes about the Planet Money episode on this that was released a month ago.

    If anyone is legitimately interested in this story, go check that out.

  7. Does not look like he really had anything to do with it. Just another name on the board.

    I really hate scammers. People who do this crap should be hung from the city gates until they rot.

    1. Leftists will use this as an example of the failures of capitalism (unbridled greed) and use it as an argument for more government regulation….or even take over by the benevolent and non-greedy government.

      Nirvana all around!

      /sarc/

      1. “Leftists will use this as an example of the failures of capitalism (unbridled greed)”

        Well, the fact that it IS an example of unbridled greed might have something to do with that.
        The market didn’t correct it, the regulators caught up to them.

        Maybe you prefer a country where scammers are free to scam whoever they can, for whatever they can get. Raw, unregulated capitalism feels like freedom, perhaps..

        1. Few people who endorse free market capitalism think their should be no laws against theft, including fraud. It’s not a market failure when someone breaks into your house due to greed. Those that do advocate that are anarchists who would also allow for the citizens to exact their own justice on the offending company.

          You seem lilk you have a college freshman level of umderstanding of the world and the smug know-it-allness that goes along with it. I suggest you read more, especially some books that would challenge your opinions even while steel-manning them. Think Hayek.

          1. “Few people who endorse free market capitalism think their should be no laws against theft, including fraud.”

            And I directed a comment at one of those few.

            “It’s not a market failure when someone breaks into your house due to greed. ”

            And you’re arguing with someone who said it is? OK, then, go right ahead. Just leave me out of it.

  8. Not exactly sure this qualifies as anything beyond character assassination via guilt by association.

    But then Reason doesn’t always apply to what gets posted on this site…

    1. They really should change the name to Rationalization.

  9. A scumbag in the Trump administration? I’m having a hard time believing that.

    1. Crazy mick|12.27.18 @ 6:51PM|#
      “A scumbag in the Trump administration? I’m having a hard time believing that.”

      A TDS victim making bogus claims? I’m having a hard time believing that.

      1. Are you familiar with a story involving a boy crying wolf?

        You might want to review it before continuing in your current chosen path of labeling any criticism of Mr. Trump and his administration as “TDS! TDS! TDS!”

        1. Fuck you Pollock.

  10. Why would anyone be surprised that a scamming company and the scamming federal government both found Matt Whitaker to be a welcome addition to their management?

  11. “Police: Man in US illegally kills California police officer”
    https://abc11.com/police-man-in-
    us-illegally-kills-california-police
    -officer/4977850/

    Caught that headline signing onto my email and wondered why the dangling participle. A search shows that nearly every source tells us that someone illegally killed a cop in the US!
    Pathetic…

    1. There are a couple of ways to legally kill a cop in the US.
      Most cops who are killed are killed by automobile accidents, some of which are not the fault of the survivor.

      1. Did you waste that amount of electrons to prove you’re a pedant?

        1. I used fewer than you did. Jealous?

  12. “Whitaker received quarterly payments of $1,875 for his role on the board.”

    Are you kidding me?

    That’s about as pro forma payment as you can get. $625 a month? He probably won’t take a dump for less than a $1000.

    “The terms of the FTC settlement require Cooper to pay $975,000 in restitution to his victims, a fraction of what WPM ultimately took from people.”

    If Reason is so outraged about this, why don’t they call for an end to corporate limited liability?
    Legal privilege does not a free market make.

    1. “If Reason is so outraged about this, why don’t they call for an end to corporate limited liability?”

      Because corporate limited liability has nothing to do with it, would be my guess.

      Restitution is based on the criminal’s ability to pay. They guy no longer has a company that can scam people out of millions of dollars per year, so he can’t pay back the millions of dollars he already stole.

      If the corporate liability shield held, he would owe restitution of $0, and the corporation’s remaining assets would be seized, liquidated, and the proceeds distributed to the defrauded. The corporation would then be involuntarily dissolved, and that would end the economic claims against the corporation.

  13. “After stringing consumers along for months or even years, the defendants did not deliver what they promised,” the FTC wrote in a press release “and many people ended up in debt or lost their life savings with nothing to show for it.”

    When will the FTC start applying these standards to colleges and universities?

    1. “When will the FTC start applying these standards to colleges and universities?”

      Ask your career advisor at Trump University.

      1. Fuck off, Hihn.

        1. Fuck off, dick-bot.

  14. And after this riveting investigative work, still no recusal.

  15. I lost all my sympathy when I read “Florida patent firm”.

  16. His business “associates”? So this would be… guilt by association?

    Reason seems increasingly into that these days.

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  18. Just briefly researching Scott J. Cooper’s World Patent Marketing, it reminds me of vanity press in the book publishing world. Ethical editors and publishers pay the author and work their butts off to make money for everyone involved; if the author has to pay the editor or publisher, it’s usually a scam exploiting the author’s hopes and often the vanity press collects fees from the author as their primary source of income and don’t try hard to sell the books. WPM sounds like a vanity inventors service.

    1. And it sounds like all the board members were taken for a ride too.

  19. FTC v World Patent Marketing, Desa Industries, and Scott Cooper. 25 May 2017.

    Most coverage of Cooper’s World Patent Marketing does not mention Whitaker as a major player in the firm itself. The board sounds like it was made up of people as scammed and duped by Cooper as the inventor/customers were.

    1. ” The board sounds like it was made up of people as scammed and duped by Cooper as the inventor/customers were.”

      Idealistically, I don’t want an acting AG who is easily scammed or duped.

      1. He’s a lawyer, how would he know? As a financial professional who holds degrees in finance amd accounting, I can say that it is very easy to hide all kinds of impropriety from anyone who lacks that sort of background.

        Also, most lawyers outside of the finance world don’t know shit about finance. Some think they do, but usually really don’t. And given his meager pay, he was probably doing someone a favor by being on the board. Which happens all the time. Perhaps he should have done more due diligence, but then there may have been no outward signs of trouble when he signed on.

        But then, he’s associated with politics involving republicans so he gets zero benefit of the doubt. As opposed to some filthy democrat that gets caught with his own hand in the cookie jar and gets a pass.

      2. Scott Cooper scammed a lot of people; either they shoulda known better, or Cooper was an “American Greed” worldclass scammer.

        Cooper claimed his advisory board included members of former Pres Obama’s advisory council, scientists, professors, former US Attorneys, military generals, famous doctors. The WPM advisory board did not meet as a group and was not in charge: Cooper ran WPM. Biology Prof Aileen Marti was retained to review any patent applications involving biological science, was listed on the board, but says she was never sent any patent applications to review, but Cooper used her name on his advisory board.

        Cooper made a campaign contribution to Rep Mast and listed Mast as a member of the board. Mar 2017 Mast returned the contribution and stated he did not join the board and learned about that when the FTC called.

  20. The lead story makes it sound like Whitaker was Dr. Evil himself with a pinkie finger in the corner of his mouth going “Mwah-hahahaha”.

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