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.
Cryptocurrencies and the Mueller Investigation made headlines this summer when the DoJ released an indictment July 13 charging twelve Russian nationals with committing federal crimes — allegedly funded by cryptocurrencies — with the aim of interfering in the 2016 elections.
More recently, in October, the U.S. DoJ charged seven officers from Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) with cryptocurrency-funded global hacking and related disinformation operations.