Former Routt County couple will pay back $5 million they embezzled
December 16, 2014
Steamboat Springs — A former Routt County couple accused of embezzling nearly $5 million from window covering company Hunter Douglas will pay back the money they received.
According to a Nov. 21 judgment in Colorado's U.S. District Court in Denver, Jason Throne and his wife, Mary Throne, admitted to creating a fake company and billing Hunter Douglas for intellectual property services never rendered.
The couple, who lived outside Steamboat Springs in the early 2000s, incorporated Patent Services Group Inc. in 1999, six years after Jason Throne began work as a patent attorney for Delaware-based Hunter Douglas.
Acting as both parties, Jason Throne as Patent Services Group would bill Hunter Douglas for intellectual property services, approving Hunter Douglas payment checks and then sending them to a Boulder post office box, according to court documents.
The judgment stated that Throne bypassed a system of checks and balances by sending invoices directly to the accounts payable department at Hunter Douglas.
"Mr. Throne prepared the invoices on his Hunter Douglas computer. He then printed the invoices and marked them for approval. From his home office in Colorado and then later from his home office in Maine, he faxed the approved invoices directly to Hunter Douglas' Window Fashions Division's accounts payable department in Colorado," read the settlement agreement.
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Monthly payments to PSG were sent for nearly 14 years, until a Hunter Douglas employee questioned the charges in November 2013, according to the judgment.
Throne was fired from his position as patent lawyer June 12, according to The Denver Post, and a lawsuit was filed against the Thrones on June 30, according to court records.
The lawsuit alleged that the Thrones used the money to purchase homes in Rockport, Maine, and Steamboat Springs with money obtained fraudulently from Hunter Douglas.
The amount embezzled totaled $4.8 million, but the judgment orders the Thrones to pay back just more than $5 million.
As part of the judgment, the couple will release their interest in two properties in Maine and a 35-acre parcel off U.S. Highway 40 west of Steamboat, making them available for sale.
The Thrones’ former home on Routt County Road 46 was sold for $1.125 million in 2007.
The couple will be required to provide Hunter Douglas with an inventory of their assets and provide tax returns to the company annually for the next 10 years.