The Department of Justice confirmed in a press release the arrest of a 29-year-old Fillippo Bernardini who allegedly was involved in a fraudulent scheme in which hundreds of manuscripts were obtained in advance.
Bernardini also allegedly sent phishing emails targeting employees of a New York City-based literary scouting firm.
FBI’ New York Office Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael J. Driscoll added that “Mr. Bernardini used his insider knowledge of the industry to get authors to send him their unpublished books and texts by posing as agents, publishing houses, and literary scouts.”
If found guilty of wire fraud, Bernardini faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a further two years for a count of aggravated identity theft.
According to U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, “Filippo Bernardini allegedly impersonated publishing industry individuals to have authors, including a Pulitzer prize winner, send him prepublication manuscripts for his own benefit.”
The fraudulent scheme, which began in August 2016, involved Bernardini using fake email accounts linked to more than 160 domains that deceived literary talent agencies, publishers and literary scouting agencies.