February 3, 2023

Save the Net Books

Blogazine on Books, Arts, and Music

Alleged manuscript thief pleads guilty

In an email sent to victims on Tuesday, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said that Filippo Bernardini, the Italian citizen arrested last year on suspicion of stealing unpublished books is expected to plead guilty to wire fraud on Friday.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 rights coordinator for Simon & Schuster UK in a phishing scheme. He posed as a publishing professional using things like small changes in email addresses and industry acronyms. For five years, he targeted well-known authors, debut authors and authors of lesser-known works alike to steal their unpublished manuscripts. The FBI that arrested Bernardini reported that he had gained access to hundreds of unpublished manuscripts by impersonating and defrauding hundreds of people in the publishing industry.

Despite the arrest and the expected request from Bernardini, the motive is still unclear. The stolen manuscripts have never been reported to have been sold or even turned up online.

For more interesting news and stories from the world of books, visit Breaking in Books.