One emotionally disabled 25-year-old New York farmer dreamed up Socially Accepted, a social networking site for people like him or others with Downs syndrome and autism to find friends.
Another North Carolina man thought he invented a device, Teddy’s Ballie Bumpers, to prevent toys from rolling too far under sofas and other furniture.
And a Broward County surgeon envisioned millions of people buying SmartNet, elastic netting snapped onto the backs of smart phones and tablets to secure objects that might otherwise drop or get lost.
They had ideas and they all testified Thursday in federal court that they were scammed out of a total of nearly a half-million dollars by a Miami Beach company.
After hearing their testimony, a federal judge extended for at least two weeks a freeze on millions of dollars in assets amassed by the head of that $26 million Miami Beach patent promotion operation — one the federal government alleges was a scam.
The assets were locked up and World Patent Marketing at-least temporarily shut down last month after the FTC sought a temporary restraining order against the company and its founder and CEO, Scott Jason Cooper.
Cooper, 43, is asking to regain control of the assets, including a waterfront mansion he bought for $3.2 million last April and a 70-foot yacht worth more than $1 million.
But he has more basic needs, attorney Michael Pineiro told the court Thursday. “He can’t access his bank account to pay for food to feed his children,” he said, adding Cooper also can’t pay his lawyers, something Cooper’s mother is currently helping with.
After four hours of argument and testimony Thursday, U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles was not yet persuaded to lift the freeze, giving the attorneys two more weeks to obtain more information about bank accounts, credit card histories, companies and trusts which may shed light on whether more assets exist.
So far, a court-appointed receiver has found World Patent Marketing, or WPM, had gross revenues of $26 million from November 2014 through January 2017, but has only about $350,000 left in the bank.
Cooper is also seeking to restart the company, but the receiver, Jonathan Perlman, is for now siding with the government, saying “it is unlikely that WPM can be operated profitably, while also lawfully.”
“It is undisputed, and Mr. Cooper agrees, that no WPM inventor has ever realized a profit from their invention using WPM’s services. Nor has any customer, through WPM, sold a meaningful number of units,” Perlman wrote in a report filed Wednesday with the court.
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