Embezzlement case continues for former Routt County couple
October 22, 2014
Steamboat Springs — A former Routt County couple accused of embezzling nearly $5 million from window-covering company Hunter Douglas will continue to work through the case in Colorado’s U.S. District Court in Denver.
The couple filed a motion to dismiss the case or move it to Maine, where they now live, but both were denied Oct. 9 by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch, of Colorado, according to court records.
Jason and Mary Throne and their former company are named in the case brought on by Hunter Douglas Inc.
The lawsuit alleges that Jason Throne, who worked as Hunter Douglas’ patent lawyer since 1993, created a company with his wife in 1999 and began billing Hunter Douglas for patent services in 2000.
The couple’s company, Patent Services Group Inc., billed Hunted Douglas as much as $40,000 monthly for patent search services that never occurred, according to reports of the lawsuit in various news outlets.
The payments were sent to a post office box in Boulder and then deposited into a Steamboat Springs bank, according to the reports.
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The couple would travel from Maine to Colorado to pick up the checks.
A Hunter Douglas company finally questioned the charges in November, and by the time Throne was confronted earlier this year, about $4.8 million had been billed to Patent Services Group, according to reports.
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 alleges that the Thrones used the money to purchase homes in Rockport, Maine, and Steamboat Springs with money obtained fraudulently from Hunter Douglas.
The Thrones’ former home on Routt County Road 46 was featured as for sale in a Steamboat Today article in 2004, and the four-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath home on 70 acres eventually was sold for $1.125 million in 2007.
The home was listed as the registered address for Patent Services Group, which only was a registered business from 1999 to 2002, despite billing Hunter Douglas until earlier this year.
According to the Routt County assessor's site, the Thrones still own a 35-acre parcel near U.S. Highway 40 west of Steamboat.
While living in Routt County, Jason Throne was involved in local school initiatives and served as chairman of the Steamboat Springs School District’s District Accountability Committee in 2002.
The DAC helps prioritize district budget proposals and comprises teachers, parents and administrators.
According to news outlets, Hunter Douglas is seeking a jury trial and damages totaling three times the amount incurred, plus the cost of court and attorney fees.