Man Who Attempted to Scam Authors Margaret Atwood, Sally Rooney Pleads Guilty

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Last Updated: January 07, 2023, 07:26 IST

Filippo Bernardini was arrested by FBI agents at New York's JFK Airport for stealing works of several authors (Image: Unsplash)

Filippo Bernardini was arrested by FBI brokers at New York’s JFK Airport for stealing works of a number of authors (Image: Unsplash)

Bernardini, writer Simon & Schuster worker, impersonated brokers and publishers over electronic mail to receive manuscripts of novels and different works from writers

An Italian man admitted Friday to stealing greater than 1,000 unpublished manuscripts, together with from distinguished authors, fixing a thriller that had rocked the literary world for years.

Filippo Bernardini, 30, pleaded responsible to one rely of wire fraud, federal prosecutors in New York introduced in a press release.

Bernardini, who labored in London for writer Simon & Schuster, impersonated brokers and publishers over electronic mail to receive novels and different works from writers and their representatives.

The rip-off had been identified in literary circles for a number of years with Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan and Sally Rooney among the many novelists reportedly focused.

It grew to become public data in January final 12 months when Bernardini was arrested by FBI brokers at New York’s JFK Airport.

Beginning in August 2016, and persevering with up to his arrest, the Italian impersonated a whole lot of actual individuals on this planet of publishing by sending emails from pretend accounts.

The addresses resembled the domains of authentic publishers however with a letter modified right here and there. Prosecutors say he registered greater than 160 fraudulent domains.

“Filippo Bernardini used his insider data of the publishing business to create a scheme that stole treasured works from authors and menaced the publishing business,” said Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY).

In 2019, Atwood’s agent revealed that the manuscript for “The Testaments” had been focused.

In 2021, New York Magazine reported that the Swedish editors of Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium” series had been approached by a purported colleague in Italy who requested an advance copy so that it could be translated before release.

A New York Times investigation at the end of 2020 found that “Normal People” creator Rooney, “Atonement” author McEwan, and actor Ethan Hawke had also been targeted.

Bernardini’s motive has never been clear.

Alleged victims were baffled by the fact the thefts were never followed by demands for money, nor did the works ever seem to appear online or on the dark web.

Screenshots from Bernardini’s LinkedIn profile shortly after his arrest described him as a “rights coordinator” at Simon & Schuster.

The profile additionally stated he obtained a bachelors in Chinese Language in Milan and a masters in publishing from UCL in London owing to his “obsession for the written phrase and languages.”

Simon & Schuster, which was not accused of wrongdoing, said at the time it had been “shocked and horrified to learn of the allegations.”

“Protection of authors’ mental property is of the best precedence for Simon & Schuster,” the publisher said in a statement Friday.

“We are grateful to the FBI and Department of Justice for its defense and support of the intellectual property rights of authors throughout the world,” it added.

Bernardini initially pleaded not responsible. As a part of his responsible plea, he agreed to pay restitution of $88,000, the SDNY stated.

His crime carries a most sentence of 20 years in jail. Bernardini will likely be sentenced in Manhattan federal court docket on April 5.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 employees and is printed from a syndicated information company feed)

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