Patterico's Pontifications


The Curious Case of Matt Whitaker’s History of Threats to Bilked Customers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:39 pm

I’m not sure the Trump administration thought this one through.

The New York Times has a story titled Acting Attorney General Sat on Board of Company Accused of Bilking Customers:

Matthew G. Whitaker, the acting attorney general, served on the advisory board of a Florida company that a federal judge shut down last year and fined nearly $26 million after the government accused it of scamming customers.

The company, World Patent Marketing, “bilked thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars” by promising inventors lucrative patent agreements, according to a complaint filed in Florida by the Federal Trade Commission.

Court documents show that when frustrated consumers tried to get their money back, Scott J. Cooper, the company’s president and founder, used Mr. Whitaker to threaten them as a former federal prosecutor. Mr. Cooper’s company paid Mr. Whitaker nearly $10,000 before it closed.

. . . .

Mr. Whitaker, using his Iowa law firm’s email, told a man who had complained to Mr. Cooper that he was a former federal prosecutor and served on the company’s board.

“Your emails and message from today seem to be an apparent attempt at possible blackmail or extortion,” Mr. Whitaker wrote in August 2015. “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 Whitaker & Co. were committing crimes, though, surely the FBI would be looking into it!

Whoops! Guess what? They are.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting a criminal investigation of a Florida company accused of scamming millions from customers during the period that Matthew Whitaker, the acting U.S. attorney general, served as a paid advisory-board member, according to an alleged victim who was contacted by the FBI and other people familiar with the matter.

The investigation is being handled by the Miami office of the FBI and by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, according to an email sent to the alleged victim last year by an FBI victim specialist. A recording on a phone line set up by the Justice Department to help victims said Friday the case remains active.

Mr. Whitaker, appointed Wednesday by President Trump to replace Jeff Sessions as head of the Justice Department, oversees the FBI in his new job.

Presumably Whitaker would be recusing himself in this investigation where his own potential criminal behavior is being scrutinized. Meanwhile, does President Trump know Matthew Whitaker? Depends on when you ask him:

I know how to resolve this ambiguity! “I don’t know him like that!” All’s I know is how he said bad stuff about Bob Mueller on the tube while I was watching:

People close to the president said Mr. Whitaker first came to the attention of Mr. Trump because he liked watching Mr. Whitaker express skepticism about aspects of Mr. Mueller’s investigation on television.

Well of course he did.

Meanwhile, more out about how Trump was on top of the payments to porn stars and such from beginning to end.

Swamp. Drained.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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