An Italian arrested in the United States a year ago has admitted to stealing more than 1,000 unpublished manuscripts. Many of these works were written by famous authors, including Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Sally Rooney, and Dutch writer Hannah Barefoots.
It was Filippo B. , 30, works for Simon & Schuster in London, but pretends to work for other publishers and tricks writers and editors into sending manuscripts, Prosecution report in New York City.
The exact manuscripts involved have not been disclosed, but Margaret Atwood, for example, said in 2019 that there was a “plot to steal the manuscript” of her book willsthe sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. In the case of Hanna Barefoots, her book week gift from 2021 was, What we saw. An unsuspecting employee of her publishing house sent the manuscript to the fraudster.
160 domains for the Internet
use b. His knowledge of the world of publishing to set up a fraudulent system to persuade writers, employees of other publishing houses, and jury members of literature awards to submit manuscripts. Before that, between 2016 and 2022, he used hundreds of names of real people in the publishing world and more than 160 domains on the Internet that look very similar to the domain names of agencies and publishers.
The Italian was arrested in January 2022 at New York’s JFK Airport. His motive remains unclear. Manuscripts were not sold. Nor has it been leaked or “ransom” demanded.
B pleaded guilty to wire fraud. He will be sentenced in April. He could face up to 20 years in prison.
There is no reason to believe that the London publishing house where he worked was involved in the scam: Simon & Schuster has not been named by the US judiciary. Last year, the publisher said it was “shocked and horrified” to learn about it.
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