Man charged after ‘phishing’ scheme to get unpublished works from Margaret Atwood, Ethan Hawke uncovered

Authorities say they have solved a publishing trade whodunit with the arrest Wednesday of a person accused of diverse literary heists in contemporary years, allegedly impersonating others in the trade to amass a veritable library of unpublished works.

Filippo Bernardini, an Italian citizen operating in publishing in London, used to be arrested Wednesday after arriving at John F. Kennedy World Airport in Big Apple, stated Damian Williams, U.S. lawyer for the Southern District of The Big Apple in an announcement.

Bernardini, 29, faces fees together with cord fraud, which consists of a penalty of up to twenty years in prison, and annoyed identification robbery. He used to be anticipated to look in federal courtroom on Thursday. No information on an legal professional for him was to be had.

For years, the publishing industry has been baffled through a global phishing scheme during which any individual with apparent inside wisdom impersonated an editor or an agent — by means of putting in place a pretend e mail account — and attempted to trick an author or an editor into sending links to unpublished manuscripts. Works by means of Margaret Atwood and Ethan Hawke have been amongst the ones targeted.

the ongoing scheme used to be all the more mysterious because whoever used to be looking for the manuscripts used to be apparently not attempting to promote them or otherwise publicly exploit having them.

“Bernardini allegedly impersonated publishing business people in order to have authors, including a Pulitzer prize winner, ship him prepublication manuscripts for his personal receive advantages,” Williams said in the statement. “This actual-existence storyline now reads as a cautionary story, with the plot twist of Bernardini facing federal legal charges for his misdeeds.”

according to the indictment against Bernardini, which was filed in July however handiest unsealed on Wednesday, the schemes were happening from no less than August 2016 through July of remaining yr.

It said Bernardini “used fraudulent, look-alike, domains to impersonate folks involved within the publishing trade to achieve surreptitious get entry to to these materials,” and that over the years he “impersonated, defrauded, and attempted to defraud, hundreds of individuals.”

Bernardini accrued masses of unpublished works, consistent with the indictment.

within the indictment, Bernardini used to be defined as running in London for a “leading, international, US-based totally publishing area.” A LinkedIn profile for a Filippo B. mentioned he worked for Simon & Schuster.

In a statement, the publisher mentioned it was “surprised and horrified to be told today of the allegations of fraud and identification theft by means of an worker of Simon & Schuster UK.”

The publisher said Bernardini were suspended pending additional info, adding, “The safekeeping of our authors’ highbrow assets is of primary importance to Simon & Schuster, and for all within the publishing trade, and we are grateful to the FBI for investigating those incidents and bringing charges in opposition to the alleged offender.”

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