Filippo Bernardini allegedly targetted prime authors like Margaret Atwood, as perfectly as up-and-coming expertise in publishing.
An Italian man accused of fraudulently obtaining more than 1,000 e-book manuscripts ahead of publication pleaded guilty before a United States courtroom on Friday.
Filippo Bernardini, a 30-12 months-old publishing market employee formerly living in London, faces one particular cost of wire fraud for engineering a multi-yr scheme to focus on up-and-coming writers as nicely as huge names like Canada’s Margaret Atwood, writer of The Handmaid’s Tale.
He faces up to 20 decades in jail for the plan. At Friday’s hearing, Bernardini also agreed to pay $88,000 in restitution.
“Unpublished manuscripts are functions of art to the writers who devote the time and electricity making them,” mentioned Michael Driscoll, assistant director-in-charge of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York business.
“Mr Bernardini was allegedly seeking to steal other people’s literary ideas for himself, but in the stop, he was not innovative plenty of to get away with it.”
Bernardini was arrested at New York’s John F Kennedy Global Airport in January 2022. US Justice Section officers have accused him of impersonating editors, expertise brokers and other folks to achieve progress copies of unpublished textbooks.
The scheme started all around August 2016, investigators explained. Drawing on his information of the field, Bernardini began to sign-up upwards of 160 world wide web domains that experienced names equivalent to present publishing properties and literary scouts.
These domains, on the other hand, showed slight variants from the originals, prosecutors claimed. In which a serious title may possibly include the letter “m”, Bernardini would area a lowercase “r” and “n” near collectively to mimic the letter’s form.
In just one situation, the Justice Department explained he utilised a single of his ersatz email addresses to strategy a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. Believing Bernardini to be their editor, the writer forwarded him a copy of a forthcoming manuscript.
Yet another tactic Bernardini allegedly deployed was a phishing plan, in which he developed a authentic-wanting site that prompted end users to supply their e-mail and passwords. Posing as a member of a talent-scouting organization, he emailed back links to this web page to two publishing-industry insiders.
The webpage, prosecutors stated, was intended to ship the private info to Bernardini’s e-mail account.
Bernardini has not supplied any motive for his alleged steps and has not attempted to market any of the book manuscripts. Among the the authors caught up in the plan were being US actor Ethan Hawke and British Booker Prize-winner Ian McEwan.
His sentencing listening to is established for April 5 in the courtroom of US District Judge Colleen McMahon.
In a statement on Friday, US District Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams praised law enforcement and prosecutors for crafting “the remaining chapter to Bernardini’s manuscript theft scheme”.
“This true-lifestyle storyline now reads as a cautionary tale,” Williams experienced mentioned formerly, “with the plot twist of Bernardini dealing with federal legal prices for his misdeeds”.