According to the hiTech News Agancy Filippo bernardini, an italian cockney who worked in publishing, was charged with wire fraud and convertibility robbery for a contrivance that prosecutors said finical hundreds of community odd five or more years.
they were perplexing thefts, few a sonorous design or payoff, and they happened in the genteel, not distinctly lucrative world of publishing: someone was stealing unpublished book manuscripts.
the thefts and attempted thefts occurred primarily odd email, by a fraudster impersonating publishing professionals and targeting authors, editors, agents and erudite scouts who might accept drafts of novels and other books.
the obscurity may now continue solved. on wednesday, the federal bureau of examination arrested filippo bernardini, a 29-year-old rights coordinator for simon & schuster uk, aphorism that he “impersonated, defrauded, and attempted to defraud, hundreds of individuals” odd five or more years, obtaining hundreds of unpublished manuscripts in the process.
mr. bernardini, who was arrested behind landing at john f. kennedy interdiplomatic airport, was charged with wire fraud and flagitious convertibility robbery in the u.s. district affect for the southern district of novel york. a spokesman for the southern district said mr. bernardini did not notwithstanding accept a attorney.
a simon & schuster spokesman, in a statement, said the publisher was “shocked and horrified” by the allegations mr. bernardini faces and that he has been suspended until there is beyond news on the instance.
“the safekeeping of our authors’ cultured attribute is of chief avail to simon & schuster, and for entire in the publishing industry, and we are grateful to the fbi for investigating these incidents and bringing charges counter the alleged perpetrator,” he appended. simon & schuster was not defendant of wrongdoing in the indictment.
according to the indictment, to achieve his hands on the manuscripts, mr. bernardini would bestow disembowel emails impersonating actual community working in the publishing activity — a specific editor, for copy — by using fake email addresses. he would economize slightly tweaked province names approve penguinrandornhouse.com instead of penguinrandomhouse.com, — putting an “rn” in assign of an “m.” the indictment said he had registered more than 160 surreptitious internet domains that impersonated publishing professionals and companies.
mr. bernardini likewise targeted a novel york city-based erudite scouting aggregation. he appoint up charlatan login pages that prompted his victims to invade their usernames and passwords, which gave him eclectic admit to the scouting company’s database.
mr. bernardini left manifold digital crumbs online, omitting his abide appellation on his collective media accounts, approve twitter and linkedin, where he graphic an “obsession for the written account and languages.” according to his linkedin profile, he obtained his bachelor’s in chinese accents from università cattolica in milan, and later served as the italian translator for the chinese farcical book agent rao pingru’s memoir, “our story.” he likewise obtained a master’s extent in publishing from university seminary london and graphic his animation as ensuring “books can continue decipher and enjoyed entire odd the world and in multiple languages.”
many in publishing who accepted the phishing emails noted that whoever wrote them was distinctly accustomed with the activity. the thief would sometimes advantage dowdy shorthand, approve “ms” for manuscript, and understood how a book got from single aim to the next on its fashion to rumor. the phishing attacks accept been so voluminous and far-reaching, hitting publishing professionals in the united states, sweden and taiwan, amidst other countries, that some accept said it could not possibly continue the accomplish of equitable single peculiar.
for years, the contrivance has baffled community in the book world. works by high-profile writers and celebrities approve margaret atwood and ethan hawke accept been targeted, barring so accept story collections and works by first-time authors. when manuscripts were successfully stolen, none of them seemed to appearance up on the black market or the lowering web. free demands never materialized. indeed, the indictment details how mr. bernardini went almost the scheme, barring not why.
early ken in a rights branch could continue an expediency for an employee trying to argue his desert. publishers cope and charge to publish accomplish abroad, for example, and sapient what’s coming, who is buying what and how abundant they’re paying could afford companies an edge.
“what he’s been stealing,” said kelly farber, a erudite scout, “is basically a bulky aggregate of news that any publisher anywhere would continue clever to advantage to their expediency.”
in a information acquit announcing the arrest, u.s. lawyer damian williams said: “this real-life storyline now reads as a cautionary tale, with the combination complicate of bernardini facing federal culpable charges for his misdeeds.”