Matthew Whitaker, President Donald Trump’s new acting attorney general, sat on the advisory board of World Patent Marketing, which was ordered to pay a $26 million settlement in May following legal action by federal authorities.
The Federal Trade Commission sued World Patent Marketing and its founder, Scott Cooper, in March 2017 because it had “operated an invention-promotion scam that has bilked thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars,” according to a Guardian report.
The FCC alleged thousands of would-be inventors were ripped off in the scam and lost as much as $400,000 each.
Whitaker was appointed acting attorney general on Wednesday afternoon after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was fired by Donald Trump.
Whitaker regularly received payments of $1,875 from the Florida-based company, according to court filings in the case against World Patent Marketing, which show that he sent a threatening email to a victim of the alleged scam, according to the Guardian.
“I am a former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa and I also serve on the World Patent Marketing’s Advisory Board. Your emails and message from today seem to be an apparent attempt at possible blackmail or extortion. You also mentioned filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and to smear World Patent Marketing’s reputation online. I am assuming you understand that there could be serious civil and criminal consequences for you if that is in fact what you and your ‘group are doing,'” Whitaker responded in an email, which was published in the Miami New Times.
Whitaker publicly vouched for World Patent Marketing claiming in a December 2014 statement that they “go beyond making statements about doing business ‘ethically’ and translate those words into action,” according to the Guardian.
The Miami New Times first reported Whitaker’s role in the alleged scam in August 2017, shortly before he became Sessions’ chief of staff in September 2017.
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Robin Cramer is a News Writer at Hill Reporter. With a degree in journalism and hankering for all things political, she strives to provide balanced coverage of breaking news. You can reach her at Robin@HillReporter.com.