A Randolph, Massachusetts, man who falsely claimed he created the DreamWorks character "Kung Fu Panda" has been indicted on wire fraud and perjury charges, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Jayme Gordon, 51, was charged with four counts of wire fraud and three counts of perjury in an indictment unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston. He was scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon.
According to the indictment, Gordon filed a lawsuit as part of a fraud scheme designed to obtain a multimillion-dollar settlement from DreamWorks. He allegedly fabricated and backdated drawings of characters similar to those in "Kung Fu Panda," lied repeatedly during his deposition and destroyed computer evidence that he was required to produce in civil discovery.
In early 2008, several months before the release of "Kung Fu Panda," Gordon saw a trailer for the movie and revised his own "Panda Power" drawings and story from the 1990s, renaming them "Kung Fu Panda Power," prosecutors said. The revisions were allegedly part of a scheme to make his work appear more like the DreamWorks pandas he had seen in the trailer.
Gordon filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against DreamWorks in U.S. district court in Massachusetts in 2011. Later that year, he proposed that the movie studio settle the suit by paying him $12 million. DreamWorks turned down that proposal, and the case went on for two years.
The full nature of Gordon's scheme allegedly came to light when DreamWorks discovered Gordon had traced some of his panda drawings from a Disney "Lion King" coloring book. After DreamWorks discovered the tracings, Gordon agreed to dismiss his suit. But DreamWorks had already spent about $3 million defending the suit by that time.
"Our intellectual property laws are designed to protect creative artists, not defraud them," U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said in a prepared statement. "The misuse of civil litigation as part of a fraud scheme, and lying under oath, as alleged in this case, warp our federal judicial system and must be addressed with appropriate criminal sanctions."
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Wire fraud carries a sentence of no more than 20 years in prison, plus a $250,000 fine. Perjury carries a sentence of no more than five years in prison, plus a $250,000 fine.
The law firms that filed the complaint on Gordon's behalf in 2011 had no information on the attorneys currently representing him.