Update on Martha Ivery Case

Hi, folks.

Martha Ivery’s sentencing hearing is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, November 29th, at 4:00 P.M. in Federal Court in Syracuse, New York.

Not surprisingly, Martha’s attorney made another last minute request for postponement (his fifth, I think, or was it the sixth?) but this time, The Honorable Frederick Scullin, Jr., the Judge assigned to this case, denied the petition.

So it appears that, barring some kind of sudden illness on the part of the judge, prosecutor, or defense attorney, the sentencing will go off as planned.

I will be climbing onto a train or a plane on November 28th, crossing my fingers that this time the event will take place.

Writer Beware has been pursuing this case actively for six years, and warning about Martha Ivery/Kelly O’Donnell since we were founded in 1998. It’s been a long, long road. I hope her many victims will finally get some comfort from seeing her sentenced, since they will almost certainly never receive a dime in restitution.

I have been asked to read the statement I wrote to the judge’s attention prior to the sentencing, and will do so unless there isn’t time or something happens to prevent me from going.

I’m going to be very glad to get this whole thing over with, I can tell you that. I have a book due, and it will be good to just put this chapter of my life as a scam hunter behind me.

My heart goes out to Martha’s victims. I have resolutely squelched any sympathy for Martha itself as it surfaced; when she attempted to justify/rationalize her behavior (or her attorney did) by claims of mental illness, alcohol abuse, spousal abuse, childhood abuse, etc. Maybe these claims are real, and maybe they’re not.

But I know for a FACT that Martha Ivery knew what she was doing was wrong, despite her claims that she didn’t understand she was committing a crime. I know this because I TOLD her she was defrauding authors and committing a crime in doing so. Her response to Writer Beware’s warning writers against signing on with her was to tell Victoria and me that we were soon going to look just like the female protagonists of the movie “Death Becomes Her” (which had been recently released). In other words, we’d be dead and mutilated.

Threatening a Federal witness wasn’t such a smart idea, but nobody ever accused Martha Ivery of being smart. Cunning, mean, and conniving, maybe, but not smart.

Do I sound heartless? Maybe I do. But Victoria and I were the people who wound up having to tell a lot of Martha’s hundreds of victims that they’d been scammed. Many times at writing conferences I wound up standing off in a corner with some distraught writer who had just realized, after hearing me speak and give the “20 Worst List” to my audience, that she had been scammed, and that the book she’d labored so hard over wasn’t going to be published — at least not by PressTIGE, the company she’d paid thousands of dollars to.

Some of these writers cried. Being the bearer of bad news of that magnitude was no fun at all.

So…I hope that, as of Wednesday the 29th, it finally ends.

Of course, seeing the end of another of WB’s many cases is good. It will give me more time to focus on Bouncin’ Bobby and his Florida shenanigans.

We go on…

-Ann C. Crispin
Chair, Writer Beware


  1. Fabulous, wonderful news. That she has to make restitution to her victims, no matter how small, is wonderful too. Well done to all who helped bring this nasty little scammer to justice.

  2. Just heard, via Scrivener’s Error, Martha Ivery’s sentence: sixty-five months in prison, plus additional penalties and stipulations.

    Here’s virtual champagne, ladies.


  3. Ann–is your statement available somewhere online, or will you post it here after the hearing?

    Congrats to you and V and everyone involved with WB for giving Martha Whateverhernameis the smacking she so richly deserves. Let’s hope the judge throws the book at her.

  4. Me too, Roach. But… I think Bouncin’ Bobby and PublishAmerica have freakin’ huge, overflowing files, based on what I’ve heard from Victoria and Ann.

    It’s only a matter of time before they get the slammer as well.

  5. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that all goes well, Martha will be sentenced, and Writer Beware can close the files on one more scammer.

  6. Ann and Victoria – Thank you for caring, thank you for your persistence, thank you for looking out for writers. Martha … I guess I’d better not write that, only that I hope you get what you deserve.

    BTW – Many of us suffered abuse as a child. It’s a pathetic excuse for being unehtical, cold-hearted and money-hungry.

  7. Huge congrats on your successful pursuit of this pathetic scammer. Very inspirational.

    Kind Regards
    Tari Akpodiete

  8. WHEN you factor in that TODAY is “Cyber Monday” in the alternative publishing industry…Writers Digest is probablbly the biggest scam on the planet!!!

    THEY asj you to kick up $100 for a “contest” with the implication that they’ll cyberPRINT a review when it’s over…but the REALITY is THOSE chickens never come home to roost in the LIFEtime of your POD’d book!!!

    3-card monty anyone???

  9. Yes, one can fob off criminal activity as a result of being a victim of abuse, but there comes a point when a person HAS to take responsibility for bad choices.

    Martha–THIS is your BIG day!

    You were in the business of killing dreams and hopes. On behalf of the people YOU have abused I hope the 29th scorches a very special place on your memory.

    Yay to you, Ms. Strauss & Ms. Crispin for your 24/7 crusade. I’m just sorry that scumsuckers like this take away from your writing time.

    On behalf of victims and those who will avoid being victimized because of you, THANK YOU for your hard work.

  10. Yes, I agree. Bouncin’ Bobby should be the next to face a judge. Whatever info I have on LAG will be available to a court.

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