Ever since they found out the company that promised to bring their ideas to life was actually just a massive scam, the would-be inventors who lost thousands to World Patent Marketing have hoped to see the company's CEO behind bars.
In April, Scott Jason Cooper was finally arrested by Miami Beach Police. But it wasn't for taking money from more than a thousand starry-eyed inventors and then doing virtually nothing his company had pledged — nor was it for threatening to sic his lawyers and Krav Maga-trained security team on burned investors who complained.
Instead, the 44-year-old — who agreed last month to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which said he bilked more than $25 million from those investors — was nabbed for allegedly grabbing his wife's cell phone and throwing it to the ground. Cooper was first charged with a felony over the incident, which Cooper denies happened, but the charge was later reduced to misdemeanor domestic violence.
The arrest is part of a tangled family legal saga that's been unfolding behind the scenes of the federal case over Cooper's company, World Patent Marketing (WPM). The dispute between Cooper and his wife Esti Prager, the onetime chief operating officer of WPM, centers on a custody battle over their young son. The case has involved dueling requests for psychological evaluations, hurled accusations, a fight over the engagement ring, and claims that Cooper has hijacked Prager's business and defamed her online.
In attempting to recover the $75,000 ring and earrings he gave Prager when he proposed, Cooper now claims the two were never actually legally married. But Prager counters that they were married under Jewish law and that Cooper has refused to give her a "get," a traditional Jewish document in which a husband grants his wife a divorce. Photos of the ceremony, held at their waterfront mansion in Miami Beach, were included in court filings.
"It is evident that the Father has no credibility about anything he says!!" reads a motion filed by Prager. "This is just one example!"
The couple's troubles began February 11, when Prager took her son and left the family's Prairie Avenue home. In court papers, she claimed Cooper's "mood swings had become unbearable." That same day, Cooper had allegedly thrown Prager's phone, though his arrest didn't come until two months later. Cooper filed a lawsuit seeking timesharing rights with their son days after her departure.
In response, Prager asked that his visits be supervised because of the phone incident, "uncontrollable mood swings," the FTC's allegation that Cooper bilked WPM customers out of $26 million, his inclusion in New Times' 2017 Dirty Dozen, and other alleged undesirable behavior. Cooper pointed out Prager had failed to mention that she herself worked for the company.
He also made a website highlighting her work at WPM. In text messages to Prager, he allegedly wrote, "By the
Another part of the campaign to punish her, according to Prager: Cooper's takeover of her business, Fortuitous Consulting. She claims he locked her out of websites, email accounts, and other software paid for by the company, spread false allegations about her, and attempted to collect payments due to her.
Cooper countered that Prager has sabotaged her own company and made false police reports against him, including the one that resulted in his arrest. He filed a separate lawsuit against Fortuitous, claiming that he has not been paid for IT and web-related services he provided the company and that the company was set up to fail. He's seeking more than $425,000.
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In motions filed in the timesharing suit, he accuses Prager of trying to spite him and prevent him from seeing their son. The case is ongoing. Cooper, who has gone through two attorneys, does not appear to have representation at the moment. New Times was unable to contact him for comment.
Before the FTC filed a complaint against World Patent Marketing in March 2017 for allegedly using deceptive and unfair practices, Cooper gave thousands to local politicians and hobnobbed with celebrities in Miami Beach. But the feds said he had built his fortune by promising big sales to inventors, who then had to pay his company thousands with little in return. A federal judge granted a restraining order last year against the business, and federal agents raided Cooper's office.
In the settlement that Cooper agreed to this past May 16, the feds found a $25.9 million judgment against him. But Cooper will have to pay back only a little over $1 million — barely $700 to each of the roughly 1,500 victims. That's because a federal receiver appointed to dig into his accounts found there was nothing else left to recover; most of the million-dollar settlement will come from selling Cooper's Miami Beach home. Cooper and WPM are also banned from offering invention promotion services.