"A former patent attorney [Jason Throne] ... was sentenced to 71 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $4.84 million in restitution [to his former employer Hunter Douglas] as a result of a scheme wherein he sent phony legal bills to his employer. For 14 years." - Kathryn Rubino, Abovethelaw, July 25, 2016. Here is the article.
Jason Throne put together a good con, in that he structured it in such a way that it bypassed the usual checks and balances of a corporation. Essentially, that consisted of creating a shell company in his wife's name. Through it he billed about $40K a month for legal services associated with patents. He knew his systems. So the bill was shielded from going through the usual channels.
Things went along fine for a long time. Then he got greedy. The size of the invoice attracted another employee's attention. And that was that.
Is the lesson here, as Rubino suggests, for corporations to check their bills? Or, is it for cons to keep greed under control?
Those two issues could be addressed in a case study done by a business school. It appears that Hunter Douglas was negligent in how it set up and maintained its financial systems. Also, what in the corporate culture gave Throne the signal that he could pull such a scam off?
In addition to a case study by a B-school, law schools should jump on this one. They have to consider custom-making, for our corrupt times, an elective on "How to stay out of jail." So many lawyers who don't really need the money are winding up there. Throne spent his added income on lux houses in Colorado and Maine. He had enough from his in-house position to live well.