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Ex patent attorney Jason Throne has been ordered to pay fines to the tune of $4.84 million and spend a little under six years in federal prison following 14 years of conning his boss. In a word, the high flying patent attorney billed his employer Hunter Douglas with phony bills and used his wife's name to do it.
This case is a reminder to large firms to conduct thorough due diligence, otherwise you too could find yourself paying for an aerobics instructor's "expertise."
So often it happens. We get a bill in the mail or online and we simply pay the balance without checking the charges. Let this case be a lesson to you all -- always make it a habit to check your bills.
The gist of this federal case involves a high-level patent attorney working at one of the most famous patent law firms: Hunter Douglas. The defendant Jason Throne cooked up a scheme to bilk his boss by billing between $125 to $300 per hour for his aerobics instructor's wife's "patent expertise."
According to the Denver Post, he significantly boosted his monthly earnings with this fraudulent accounting trick.
"Throne had pocketed roughly $40,000 a month over 14 years by billing and approving payments for bogus work by a Colorado shell company he secretly controlled in his wife's name. He used the money to build luxury homes in Steamboat Springs [Colorado] and in Maine, the lawsuit alleged."
14 Years. A New Record?
Throne got away with his bogus billing for 14 years, which has got to be a new record in the industry. He was able to dodge scrutiny for so long because his relatively high level within the firm afforded him some authority to channel the bills to his favor. Additionally, his cooked up shell company looked like it was doing what it was supposed to be doing -- running patent searches.
It was only after another employee noticed the size of the bills that things started to come apart. When she dug further, it all unraveled. Greed is one thing, getting too greedy will always get you.
Throne got slapped with a sentence that was much harsher than the probation report had recommended.