After the Federal Trade Commission in March obtained a court order shutting down his patent marketing business and freezing his assets, Scott Cooper and his attorneys argued it was a "legal ambush" – that once the judge heard the facts, the court should allow Cooper to get back to work and regain access to his assets.
Now, after hearing testimony and arguments over two days in April, that federal judge has sided with the FTC.
Citing evidence Cooper and his company "devised a fraudulent scheme to use consumer funds to enrich themselves," U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles last week imposed a preliminary injunction on the Miami Beach patent marketing operation that the FTC claims was a $26 million scam.
That means World Patent Marketing remains shut down and Cooper continues to be barred from accessing cash, taking out loans or selling property until the case is resolved.
Meanwhile, a court-appointed receiver will continue trying to locate assets that could be used to repay victims, if the judge ultimately finds Cooper and his company liable. So far, only about $2.5 million in assets and cash have been identified, while potential damages to victims total $26 million.
Cooper’s attorney declined to comment on the judge’s decisions, including one denying a defense motion to dismiss a crucial count in the complaint against Cooper and WPM.
Customers who found WPM on the internet or through other advertising were told their invention ideas would be reviewed by a board or review team before being accepted by WPM. A few days later, salespeople would call back to "'congratulate' the customers, because the (non-existent) board had approved their ideas," Gayles wrote.
The company would then misrepresent the inventor’s likelihood of financial gain, the judge found.
That would lead thousands of customers to spend many thousands of dollars seeking WPM’s help in obtaining patents and marketing their products – something the judge has so far found did not happen in a significant way.
Cooper lives in a waterfront Miami Beach mansion he bought for $3.2 million in April 2016 and owns a 70-foot yacht, worth more than $1 million. He owes lenders some money on both of those assets, according to court filings.
While the court previously gave Cooper access to $75,000 from Swiss bank accounts he had created prior to beginning the patent marketing opreration, the judge last week did not release any more money from those or other accounts. "Cooper is able to seek lawful employment to cover his legal defense and living expenses during the pendency of this FTC action," the judge noted.
Neither Cooper nor his attorney would comment on whether he currently has a job.