Suspected Manuscript Thief to Plead Guilty

Books

In an email sent to victims on Tuesday, the office of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York said that Filippo Bernardini, the Italian citizen who was arrested last year on suspicion of stealing unpublished books, is expected to plead guilty to wire fraud on Friday.

For years, Bernardini used his insider knowledge as a rights coordinator for Simon & Schuster UK in a phishing scheme. He impersonated publishing professionals by using things like small changes in email addresses and industry shorthand. Over five years, he targeted well-known authors, debut authors, and authors of lesser-known works alike with the intention of stealing their unpublished manuscripts. The FBI, who arrested Bernardini, reported that he had gotten access to hundreds of unpublished manuscripts by impersonating and defrauding hundreds of people within the publishing industry.

Despite the arrest and Bernardini’s expected plea, the motive is still unclear. The stolen manuscripts were never reported to have been sold or even to surface online.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.

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