Con Artists Admits to Phishing Plot That Duped Ethan Hawke, Margaret Atwood – NBC New York

A yearslong saga that ensnared the publishing world culminated in a New York courtroom Friday when a con artist pleaded responsible to a plot that defrauded scores of authors by duping them into handing over a whole lot of unpublished manuscripts.

Filippo Bernardini, an Italian citizen who had been working in publishing in London, pleaded responsible to a single rely of wire fraud in reference to a phishing scheme that baffled the ebook world for years.

The announcement was made by the U.S. legal professional for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, who mentioned Bernardini is ready to be sentenced April 5 earlier than earlier than U.S. District Choose Colleen McMahon.

“Filippo Bernardini used his insider data of the publishing trade to create a scheme that stole treasured works from authors and menaced the publishing trade,” Williams mentioned in an announcement.

Authorities say Bernardini, 30, used e-mail accounts to impersonate literary brokers and editors to con authors out of their manuscripts.

“Through impersonation and phishing schemes, Bernardini was able to obtain more than a thousand manuscripts fraudulently,” Williams mentioned.

Bernardini, who hasn’t publicly defined his motives, faces a most sentence of 20 years in jail. As a part of his responsible plea, he agreed to pay restitution of $88,000.

Authorities say the scheme started someday round August of 2016 and continued till final January, when he was arrested.

Bernardini created faux e-mail accounts by registering greater than 160 web domains that, prosecutors mentioned, “were confusingly similar to the real entities that they were impersonating, including only minor typographical errors that would be difficult for the average recipient to identify during a cursory review.”

He impersonated a whole lot of individuals over the course of the scheme, acquiring greater than a thousand manuscripts by way of his deceit.

Works by Margaret Atwood and Ethan Hawke have been amongst these focused.

What made the plot extra mystifying was that no makes an attempt have been apparently made to promote the stolen manuscripts.

Within the indictment, Bernardini was described as working in London for a “major, international, US-based publishing house.” A LinkedIn profile for a Filippo B. mentioned he labored for Simon & Schuster, which had mentioned that it was “shocked and horrified” by the fraud.

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