Massachusetts man charged with fraud in 'Kung Fu Panda' case

Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:37pm EST
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By Scott Malone

(Reuters) - A Massachusetts man who sued DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc claiming he had invented the title character in the 2008 film "Kung Fu Panda" committed fraud by back-dating drawings he relied on as evidence, U.S. federal prosecutors said on Monday.

Federal prosecutors in Boston charged Jayme Gordon, 51, of Randolph, Massachusetts, with wire fraud and perjury, asserting that he lied in a 2011 lawsuit against the Hollywood studio by claiming the high-kicking bear named Po infringed on characters he had developed in the 1990s.

"Mr. Gordon went to great lengths to orchestrate and maintain this fraudulent scheme, trying to take credit for ideas he did not come up with," said Harold Shaw, the FBI's special agent in charge in Boston.

Prosecutors charged that Gordon back-dated drawings he used to try to extract a $12 million settlement from DreamWorks, contending he did so in early 2008 after seeing an early trailer for the film. Some of the drawings he relied on had been traced from a coloring book featuring Walt Disney Co's characters 1994 film "The Lion King."

Gordon agreed to dismiss his lawsuit after DreamWorks, which also produced the "Madagascar" and "How to Train Your Dragon" films, discovered the tracing, though by that time the company had spent some $3 million defending against the litigation.

He could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges, wire fraud.

Gordon could not be reached for immediate comment.

"Kung Fu Panda 3" is due to be released in January.