Amidst the accelerating news surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of March, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it would be refunding “more than $1 million” to victims of an “invention promotion business.” The FTC says they identified the consumers targeted by World Patent Marketing Inc. (WPM) and Desa Industries Inc. as those in need of a refund. It’s something. But the FTC’s announcement forgot to mention that Trump’s former acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, used to be on the advisory board of WPM.
What also seems to have slipped the minds of those writing the FTC announcement is that Whitaker is suspected of having known that WPM was running a scam at the time. In fact, the FTC also forgot to report that Trump’s former AG sent threatening letters to a consumer who called out the scam and purportedly lost tens of thousands of dollars in that scam.
The World Patent Marketing scam pulled in a reported $26 million by lying to prospective inventors that they could and would help market and shepherd their projects into financial viability. One of the company’s promotional sales pitches included promoting how incredible their advisory board was and name-checking Whitaker. In May of 2018, WPM settled with the FTC for $25,987,192 and was banned from ever working in the world of invention again.
When it was announced that Whitaker would become the acting attorney general, some Trump supporters who had been scammed by Whitaker were unable to handle the contradictory feelings. Brenda Wilcox told the Miami New Times that she was very disappointed and “concerned” that Trump would choose someone like scam artist Whitaker for such an important legal position. She said she still supported Trump. Wilcox lost $13,000 to Whitaker and friends in the scam. According to the FTC’s release, they are giving out “5,503 refunds averaging about $185 each to victims of the scheme.” MAGA!