Tuesday, January 18

United States. Mysterious ‘manuscript pirate’ arrested in New York

It was a mystery that had shaken the literary world for years: the FBI arrested an employee of the famous Simon & Schuster publishing house on suspicion of stealing literary proofs from prestigious authors before their publication, US authorities said. .

Presented in court in New York on Thursday, the day after his arrest at JFK airport in New York, Filippo Bernardini, a 29-year-old Italian, was charged with electronic fraud and aggravated identity theft, crimes punishable by 22 years in prison.

He was placed on a $ 300,000 bond, “which will be guaranteed on his property,” and was placed in “house arrest” with “curfew,” a spokesperson for the prosecutor told AFP. Manhattan Federal.

Manuscripts by great authors

Employed in London at Simon & Schuster, he is suspected of having received for years “hundreds of unpublished manuscripts”, sometimes from known authors or their representatives, by writing to them with fake e-mail addresses of managers of publishing houses or literary agents, details the indictment issued by the American justice system.

In 2019, author Margaret Atwood was among those targeted revealed her agent, including the hardships of the highly anticipated sequel to The scarlet maid, Wills. According to one investigation of New York Times at the end of 2020, other authors, such as Sally Rooney, Ian McEwan, or actor Ethan Hawke had also been targeted.

Fuzzy motivations

According to U.S. justice, a Pulitzer Prize winner had given him “his forthcoming manuscript,” thinking he was its publisher.

Filippo Bernardini’s motivations are still unclear. The indictment does not indicate what he did with the recovered works, and whether he obtained any financial benefit from them.

Simon & Schuster announced to have “suspended” its employee, “pending further information on the case”, saying “shocked and horrified” by the actions of the suspect.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *