A Randolph, Massachusetts man who claimed that DreamWorks Animation’s hit franchise Kung Fu Panda was a rip off of characters he created was indicted on Monday for fraud charges.
A federal grand jury indicted Jayme Gordon, 51, for wire fraud and perjury, reports The Boston Herald. Federal prosecutors said that his 2011 lawsuit against DWA was just part of an attempt to get a $12 million settlement from the studio. Gordon agreed to drop the suit in 2013, without making any money out of his scheme.
“Our intellectual property laws are designed to protect creative artists, not defraud them,” U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said. “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.”
As NECN notes, Gordon allegedly lied during a deposition and destroyed computer evidence. Prosecutors say that he went back and changed a 1990s story he came up with called Panda Power in 2008, just as the first Kung Fu Panda was coming out.
DWA figured out that something was up when they realized that Gordon had just traced drawings of pandas from a coloring book for Disney’s The Lion King. Then, Gordon agreed to drop the suit, but this was only after DWA spent $3 million on attorneys.
If he is convicted, Gordon could spend up to 20 years in prison.