ENTER A HERO:
About this time, after the Deerings had been indicted, when law enforcement was paying attention to their scam, I spoke to agent Clay Mason, telling him about Martha Ivery, and asking him which office would handle the Catskills area of New York. Special Agent Mason told me it would be the Albany Field Office of the FBI.
So one day I plucked up my courage and called them.
I was SOOOOO LUCKY. When I asked to speak with an expert in white collar crime, they referred me to a man named Paul Silver. Paul listened to me patiently, took notes, and then told me that the FBI had an “unofficial” dollar amount of $100,000 in losses that had to be met before they could begin an active investigation. He didn’t know anything about publishing scams, but he was quick-witted and patient. He listened, asked questions, and told me what Writer Beware would have to do in order to get the FBI interested in the case.
I was SOOOOO LUCKY. Since that time, I’ve spoken with many FBI agents on different cases, and some of them have been disappointingly unsympathetic, even indifferent, to the plight of scammed writers. For some strange reason, writers just don’t seem to elicit public sympathy when they get taken, the way groups like the elderly do.
Instead there is often the unspoken, but real, judgment that “they had it coming, if they were that stupid.”
I don’t agree.
I’ve never been the kind of person to “blame the victim.” I think that attitude, frankly, sucks.
But anyway, now Vic and I had our marching papers. $100,000 (or pretty close) in losses. If we could find that many victims and get their documentation, and get them to register official complaints, we might be able to get the Feds interested in pursuing the case.
We had our work cut out for us!
Okay, more later this week…but for now, here’s today’s writing tip: DON’T EVER USE COLORED PAPER FOR A MANUSCRIPT. OR WEIRD COLORED INK. OR UNUSUAL FONTS. FOR A COMPLETE, FREE MANUSCRIPT PREP GUIDE, VISIT THE SFWA SITE. IT’S
-Ann C. Crispin