Jamye Gordon, who attempted to defraud DreamWorks Animation out of more than $12 million in a hamfisted scheme in which he falsely claimed that he was the creator of Kung Fu Panda, has been sentenced to two years in federal prison and ordered to pay $3 million in restitution.
In 2008, several months before the movie’s release, Gordon saw a trailer for Kung Fu Panda. He’d previously created some drawings and a story about pandas, which he called Panda Power, that bore little resemblance to the characters in the movie. But after seeing the trailer, he revised his drawings and story and renamed it Kung Fu Panda Power.
“He made these revisions as part of his scheme so that his work would appear to be more similar to the DreamWorks pandas he had seen in the movie trailer,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
In February 2011, Gordon filed a copyright infringement suit against DreamWorks Animation in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts. Later that year, he proposed that DWA agree to settle the suit by paying him $12 million. The company rejected that proposal, and the litigation continued for another two years.
During the course of the civil litigation, which cost DWA $3 million in legal fees, Gordon intentionally deleted relevant evidence on his computer that he was required to produce in discovery and lied during his civil deposition, federal prosecutors said. He also fabricated and backdated sketches that served as support for his suit.
The full nature of Gordon’s scheme came to light when DreamWorks discovered that Gordon had traced some of his panda drawings from a Disney Lion King coloring book.
He was indicted in December 2015, and a federal jury convicted him of fraud and perjury in November. Gordon, who had faced up to 25 years in prison, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris.