This post has been updated.
Today, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed eight felony charges and one misdemeanor charge each against Ryan and Richard Tate, respectively CEO and founder of Chiristian vanity publisher Tate Publishing & Enterprises, for alleged fraudulent business practices.
According to local news station KFOR,
The charges include four felony counts of embezzlement, one felony count of attempted extortion by threat, two felony counts of extortion by threat, one felony count of racketeering and one misdemeanor count of embezzlement.
Since the businesses ceased operations in January, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit has received 718 complaints from authors or musicians who contracted with the companies.
Complaints from customers range from failure to deliver products and services that had been previously paid for; failure to pay royalty earnings, per contractual agreement; and refusal to return files unless the customer agreed to pay a $50 processing fee.
“The means by which Ryan and Richard Tate conducted business to defraud individuals from across the country is unconscionable and a blatant disregard for those who entrusted them to produce their work,” Attorney General Mike Hunter said. “I appreciate the dedication and hard work by the agents and the attorneys in the Consumer Protection Unit, who put this case together.”
Among other findings, investigators discovered that money received from authors was routed, via Tate’s business accounts, directly to the personal accounts of Ryan and Richard Tate.
The Tates have been apprehended, with bond set at $100,000 each, and ordered to surrender their passports.
There’s more coverage at the Journal Record.
This is good news. Tate is one of the most unscrupulous vanity publishers Writer Beware has ever tracked, and its callous disregard for authors, staff, and creditors was on full display long before it closed its doors last January, amid mountains of debt, hundreds of author complaints, and multiple seven-figure lawsuits. Just days before the Tates’ apprehension, Tate Publishing had unexpectedly risen from the dead, claiming to be ready to “once again lead the publishing industry.”
For a detailed account of Tate’s deceptions, failures, sudden demise, and unexpected resurrection, see my previous blog post.
In a press conference on May 4, Attorney General Hunter promised that his office would seek reparations for Tate authors (though with the multi-million dollar judgments against Tate probably taking priority, I think it’s unlikely that much, if anything, will turn out to be available). He also said that Tate Publishing’s apparent re-boot, as well as the possibility that the Tates were working on starting up a new venture (possibly another publisher called Lux Creative, about which there have been rumors for some time) were factors in the timing of the arrests. Overall, it’s clear that the AG is taking this very seriously.
Ryan Tate, buttonholed by reporters on his way to his arraignment, unsurprisingly declared his innocence.
“We’re looking for our day in court and fighting them and we’ll make sure the truth wins out,” he said.
When asked about the countless victims, he said, “That’s not true, we went out of business for about three months but we have about a thousand authors total so most of them are very, very happy.”
Worth noting: in a January interview, Richard Tate was claiming 39,000 authors. I’m guessing that was a teeny bit inflated, but I’d also bet dollars to donuts that Ryan is lowballing. Even if he isn’t…we know that 718 Tate authors have complained to the Attorney General since the beginning of this year. So if Tate does have only 1,000 authors, clearly most of them are nowhere close to happy.
The Tates are out on bail at present, and a preliminary hearing is set for September 6. They apparently now have an attorney (two previous attorneys quit for lack of payment).
What can Tate authors do now? You’ve already done a lot; your complaints to the Attorney General were instrumental in leading to Ryan’s and Richard’s arrests. The AG has heard from authors not just in the USA, but from all over the world.
But there’s still more to be done. The AG is still looking for Tate victims. If you haven’t yet filed a complaint, consider doing so now–more complainants will give the AG’s office more to work with in building its case against the Tates, and you’ll also get your name on the list for restitution, if there is any.
Here’s the form to fill out to file your complaint with the AG’s Consumer Protection Division. You can also visit the Attorney General’s website at https://ok.gov/oag/.
And if you hear any news, please email me or post it here.
UPDATE 8/31/17: The preliminary hearing for Ryan and Richard Tate has been pushed back to November 27. Officials need additional time to investigate author and musician complaints, which right now stand at 1,674.
If you’re a Tate author or musician and haven’t yet filed a complaint with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, you can still do so.
Lightning Source has reportedly stopped pursuing collection of the nearly $2 million Tate owes it, but Xerox is continuing its efforts to recover a similar amount.
UPDATE 11/27/17: The preliminary hearing has been pushed back again, to allow time for “investigation, discovery and negotiations.” The new date is February 21, 2018.
You can follow the progress of the case–motions, continuances, etc.–here.
UPDATE 2/18/18: Once again, the preliminary hearing for the Tates has been pushed back, this time to May 16. No explanation was offered for the delay.
According to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office, nearly 1,900 complaints had been filed as of the end of 2017, and they’re still coming in.
A FURTHER UPDATE, 2/18/18: Will you laugh or will you cry when you learn about the new entrepreneurial endeavor, excuse me, ministry from Rita Tate, mother and wife of the two alleged felons who ran Tate Publishing into the ground and left its authors high and dry?
Through the Fire Inspirations is a collection of inspirational tchotchkes featuring Rita’s own writings and craftings, such as The Cross of Nails (in regular and heavy) and the Corporate Inspirations series, (framed uplifting quotes for businesses suffering, well, setbacks; do any come to mind?)
Rita explains that it was her “recent difficult trials” that moved her to found Through the Fire.
Our family was not exempt from facing the most trying times of our lives recently. Who hasn’t had to cope with challenges beyond our control when you want to shout to God, “Is this how You love us?” I have been there … perhaps where you are today. The difficult trial hurt and wounded my spirit, but then a wonderful transformation took place in my heart as I daily sought God for comfort, hope and victory.
I’m sure the hundreds of Tate Publishing and Tate Music Group victims, whose own difficult trials cost them money, time, and dreams, will find this deeply comforting.
UPDATE 3/11/18: You really cannot make this stuff up. An Oklahoma couple is accusing Ryan Tate of conning them into buying a dud car. The car apparently broke down just a few days after purchase, and Tate was unresponsive to the couple’s requests that it be repaired.
Over the phone with News 4, the LaGrange’s told Ryan Tate they wanted their money back.
“Uh, no. We’ve been probably talking to them for two weeks about this,” Ryan Tate responded.
Finally, the LaGrange’s gave Ryan Tate one last option.
“We were promised our mechanic could do the work. You don’t want my mechanic to do the work and pay for it, then we would like a replacement or our money back. One or the other, that’s it,” said La Tasha.
A few hours after our interview, Ryan Tate paid the LaGrange’s back their $1,900 for the car.
UPDATE 5/17/18: The preliminary hearing for the Tates has been pushed back again, to August 29.
Additionally, five Tate-associated properties are going to auction on June 11. From The Journal Record:
The properties come out of a lawsuit filed in October by BancFirst Corp., which is seeking to pay off mortgage default balances worth nearly $700,000. BancFirst convinced the District Court of Canadian County to give the bank’s mortgage liens priority over claims by Jostens Inc., Lightning Source LLC, Xerox Corp., Stanley Perl, Tom Blundell, Darla Mae Dudley, Magnolia Trace Property Owners Association Inc. and the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
The properties reportedly have been appraised for $1.12 million.
Consumer complaints lodged with the Oklahoma Attorney General now number more than 2,000.
UPDATE 7/20/18: According to the Journal Record, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office is working to return Tate authors’ and musicians’ text and music files, but having problems doing so.
The comments are all too familiar to Julie Bays, chief assistant attorney general to Mike Hunter. More than 2,000 consumers registered complaints about Tate with her office and led to charges being filed against the father-and-son executives in May 2017. Bays and her staff are struggling now to return 1,400 music and text files to 1,100 authors and musicians around the world. It is easily the largest consumer complaint case she has ever had to manage….
The scale of the alleged crimes and limits of technology have slowed down the process, however. Bays said the attorney general’s office was not equipped to upload and sort through hundreds of thousands of book pages, so the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services was contracted to help. She praised OMES for sharing its technology, although the problems seem to keep mounting – for example, not all complainants provided a way to contact them, and some used pen names rather than their legal names.
Many of the files are corrupt or empty, Bays said.
Apparently there’s a release of rights letter provided by Ryan Tate that’s being sent out with files that are returned.
Tate authors are being encouraged to send their questions via email to Susan.Laib@OAG.OK.Gov rather than call on the phone.
UPDATE 9/27/18: The Tates’ preliminary hearing has been pushed back yet again. The new date is November 7, 2018. You can follow the progress of the case–motions, schedules, etc–on the Oklahoma Courts website: Richard Tate and Ryan Tate.
UPDATE 11/8/18: Another postponement. New date: December 12.
UPDATE 11/26/18: The Oklahoma Attorney General has set up a website for at least some Tate authors and musicians to retrieve their digital files. This news story about the website doesn’t provide a link to it, but apparently a letter has been sent out to over 1,000 authors and musicians whose files are available for download. Unfortunately, many authors’ files have been lost or are unavailable (the Tates are claiming that many files were unrecoverable because they were stored in the Philippines).
Be aware that any digital files you retrieve may be of poor quality. Also, even if they are complete and not corrupted, they will include Tate-specific material that will need to be stripped out.
UPDATE 12/19/18: The Tates’ hearing finally happened today. Here’s the Oklahoma Attorney General’s official press release.
Under a plea agreement, Richard and Ryan Tate will not do jail time, but will spend two decades under probation, during which time they must pay restitution to defrauded authors in the amount of over $820,000 (via payments of $3,000 per month), plus immediate payment of $109,000 to the Tate Victim Restitution Account. If they violate “probationary requirements” (which I would hope include a ban on any business or employment relating to publishing or writers) or fail to make the monthly payments, the Tates’ probation may be revoked, in which case they would go to jail.
You can see the plea agreements (which include the very long list of felonies with which the Tates have been charged) here.
The agreements include the stipulation that “any and all contractual agreements between Tate authors and TMG artists are hereby terminated”, and that Tate Publishing and TMG “release all interest in, and rights to” authors’ and artists’ projects.
The restitution amount may increase if more victims come forward. Tate victims have until July 1, 2019 to file complaints, along with supporting documentation, with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit. If you’ve already contacted the AG’s office, but haven’t yet submitted documentation of financial loss, this is your chance to do so.
It’s not all that most Tate authors were probably hoping for, but it’s still a win–and a much better outcome than for most scams of this type, where law enforcement never takes an interest. And at the end of the day, Tate Publishing is no longer preying on writers.
UPDATE 9/10/19: The restitution plan for the approximately 500 Tate authors who qualify for reimbursement was supposed to be submitted today by the Oklahoma Attorney General, but apparently authors will have to wait. “Alex Gerszewski, spokesman for Attorney General Mike Hunter, said the hearing that had been set for this month was continued because the agency’s attorneys needed more time to formulate the plan and to discuss its particulars with Richard Tate, the company’s founder, and Ryan Tate, its former CEO.”
UPDATE 12/20/19: The court has approved the Tates’ restitution order.
As noted in my post, Tate Publishing is out of business and its owners have been charged with fraud. Unfortunately, the window to be added to the list of writers receiving restitution has closed. I'm afraid there's no way for you to collect any of the royalties that may be due to you.
The good news is that, by default, your contract is void and your rights are your own again. You're free to re-publish.
My finished work was being sold online since 2016 and I haven't received a penny in royalties or paper notices of sales. I want my 4 years of compensation for there negligence. How can I get pass the red tape of that company and get paid? I have documents and photo proof. Who can help me?????????
I came into contact with Tate through another author who had had good luck with them. I saw no need to suspect any problems. Lord was I wrong! After paying them in installments I was excited to see something in tangible form. I was very pleased when I got my copy of my book! I ordered 25 copies to show and give out and all was well. Meanwhile I was receiving word from friends and family all over that they had ordered copies (some multiple copies) and that meant royalties! Yeah…right… I never received a penny in royalties or a single report of how many copies had been sold. This in spite of numerous calls to the state asking for the information. Here we are years down the road and I have neither the royalties nor the files for my own property. Maybe, just maybe, we will get some peace of mind and a little justice.
I'm another defrauded author who also was unaware of filing processes and deadlines. My complaint is not with that but instead with the fact these guys won't even spend a single day of jail time. They were clearly evil in their use of the Christianity label to extort and defraud. Thank goodness we've been promised 'Judgment is mine' said the Lord. I take great solace in that.
I had filed a complaint and sent it to the Atty, General's Office with all the documents which proved that I paid for a total of $3990 for Tate's offer of Perpetual contract…. meaning that the contract is forever. However, they just closed months after the got the money. I sent them email and Dr. Richard asked me to advice my bank to redeem the money, but Chase bank said that can no longer be done. I sent a complaint sometime in 2018 and sent it to the Office of the General's office. I know it will take years for the issue to be resolve as I took it to myself that a notice will be sent if the problem is solved.
Two days ago, while browsing about Tate in google, I read that the Tate's had allocated money to pay off their authors so I immediately contacted the Atty. Generals Office and the reply below:
Lita T. Cruz
Tue, Jun 16 at 9:02 PM
Our office has not received a complaint from you. The deadline to file a complaint against Tate in this criminal matter has passed. I’m sorry that we cannot assist you in this matter. You may consider contacting a private attorney for information on your rights.
This comment is so heartbreaking. I am an Asian-American 78 years old retiree with barely $600 per month pension, and getting back my money will be a big help for me. Have it not been for the help of my children, I cannot even afford to pay the apartment I rented in New Hampshire, which I also gave up when I visited my children in the Philippines and have this lockdown due to Covid.
Thank you for whatever help you can advise .. so I can claim back my hard earned money.
My gmail no longer works… I am using email@example.com
What's the title of your book, so I can look it up online?
There was no class action suit against Tate. The Oklahoma Attorney General did investigate, and a limited number of authors are receiving restitution.
i AM ONE OF THE AUTHORS THAT TATE PUBLISHING SCAMMED. IT SEENS THAT THEY OUTSOURCED MY GOOK TO ANOTHER COMPANY IN ANOTHER COUNTRY.MY BOOK IS A TRUE LIFE STORY. IT IS MY STORY. i WAS HOPING TO GIVE THE ROYALTIES TO MY FAMILY, AND TO HELP US GET OUT OF DEBT. I WANTED TO LEAVE SOMETHING TANGLED TO MY KIDS GRNDCHILDREN AND GREAT GRANDKIDS. NOW THOUGH BECAUSE OF WHAT WAS DONE, I DON'T AVE ANYTHING TO LEAVE THEM WHEN I DIE. I WAS IN THE HOSPITAL MANY TIMES DURING THE CLASS ACTION SUIT, I WANTED THEM TO BE PROUND OF ME. I AM DISABLED. WHAT I want is an answer. and I am nor talking about money, becausse I have none. what i want to know is "why.
why. thats all. i can think it;s about money, gust nonwy,
I cannot believe the plea agreement for defrauding 780 plus authors and breaching the contracts of others by failing to properly represent the work of the authors for which unfortunately, there is no criminal prosecution available.
Does anyone have a class action lawsuit filed against the Tates and/or Tate Publishing?
The Oklahoma AG did apparently establish a process by which Tate authors and artists could get their digital files back: http://www.oag.ok.gov/attorney-general-hunters-office-announces-process-created-to-allow-some-tate-victims-to-retrieve-digital-book-and-music-files. However, I clicked the link to the letter that supposedly provides instructions, and they are not there, and I can't find any information or links to the website that was reportedly set up to allow authors and artists to search for their materials.
I'd suggest you send a question to this email address: Susan.Laib@OAG.OK.Gov . It's the only address I could find with reference to the digital files.
Unfortunately the Tates turned over only some of the files, and much of what they did turn over is incomplete or corrupted. Also, even files that are complete and not corrupted may be of poor quality. So as infuriating and disappointing as it may be, it may not be worth investing the effort to try and retrieve your materials.
I was an unassuming novice writer who was by nature trusting. Big mistake! I paid Tate Publishing to produce and distribute my children's book: Little Feather's Summer Fun. Many have contacted me saying they had purchased my book. Some of those had trouble getting the book after they paid for it. I know I sold a mere handful in the short time it was published prior to the Tate "crime spree", but I also NEVER received ANY PAYMENTS. Now I just want my files back. How do I go about getting the files??
I never trusted anyone who's opening statement was, "I'm a Christian," But I had Tate publish three books for me anyway.
The books came out real good but it was a painful process.
Does anyone know if there's a way for published authors to get more copies of their books as we were promised?
They took my money, did not return my MSS. We had 2 follow up persons I helped write one book called
"God is not done with me YET" So sad to have people represented as Christians to steal from us! I have interviewed 5,000 people on my TV show Vision Plus by (Dr Bonnie Libhart) written 12 books , (Amazon.com) also on YouTube, & other places. I was going to interview them on TV. What a sad ending.
I forgive them Psalms 84:11
Dr. Bonnie Libhart
29 Braxton st. N W
Huntsville. AL firstname.lastname@example.org
I need the money returned
The Tates deserve the full punishment that the will allow. They need to learn that they cannot take advantage of so many individuals without being caught. Hopefully all of us will be reimbursed what theytoo. Shame on you Tates!
I signed with Tate Music Group in July 2014 and paid $500 for the recording and distribution of my album. As a new artist on the scene, I thought that I was getting an awesome breakthrough. Went to Oklahoma and recorded my album on January 21-22, 2016. I even did my photo shoot on the last day of recording. The album released on June 7, when they told me it would be June 17. The album hit at #1 on iTunes charts and people bought my album on CD, I even had a fan by 25 copies of my album on CD and never got a copy. I waited and waited each quarter for my royalties and never got a dime. Not a marketing report, nothing. My album was a hit album and Tate Music Group/Tate Publishing took from me and my hard work. I want them to receive the due justice they deserve and I pray to get back what was taken from me.
More misfortune for my author who was originally going with Tate. During his fight with Tate, the author died and his widow came to me to fix everything for self-publishing.
After I corrected the cover (that had 7 typos)and scrubbed everything "Tate" from the text and cover, I sent it to the printer.
12 hours later, the printer Edwards Brothers Malloy announced they were going out of business. Legally, they have the files and should have proceeded with the short run. Now the widow is trying to get her deposit back.
Looking at my research the past (4) years. Neither the Oklahoma BBB or Attorney General Office did anything to stop Tate Publishing. From continuing to committing the crimes. Because of Richard Tate relationships, his company was allowed to steal for consumers for years.
Until numerous authors complaints from over the world were forwarded to the Department of Justice. They were placed with complaints filed with the Illinois, F.B.I. office by local author.
If the truth be know, the Illinois, F.B.I office are the ones which investigated Tate Publishing for years. Before working with and turning their criminal case over to the Oklahoma Attorney General and F.B.I. office.
Which were both sitting on their hands! Like they're doing now!
Which has allowed Tate Publishing to continue list author books in other countries through (Baker & Taylor). Tate Publishing is still receiving royalties for books. Like they were doing before being charged with their numerous criminal charges.
By the Oklahoma Attorney general office. But it's not a criminal case now, because criminal charges have been filed.
It's a "Copyright" issue now, which makes the author responsible for legal actions.
The authors are the ones which help Tate Publishing make their cake of worth.
Because of all the damage Tate Publishing was allowed to do for so many years!
The true cooks of Tate Publishing worth and success. May never get to taste the cake they help them prepared for so many years. Because dozens of companies and individuals are fighting over Tate Publishing LLC left overs.
The state courts and federal agencies which we pay to protect us.
Are becoming our worst enemy after thieves like the Tate's!!!!!!!!!!
"To God be the Glory!"
I was conned out of 2,000 by Tate and I want my money back. They breached my contract and I am very upset about it. I tried to file my complaint using the link you provided but it said page not found. Do you have an updated link that can be used?
Tate is out of business, and its owners have been charged with multiple felonies. I think it's safe to conclude that authors' rights have reverted. Also, Tate contracts allowed authors to terminate the contract at will. So either way, your mother's rights should be free now.
It'd be a good idea to check Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers to make sure your mother's book isn't available any longer; if it is, she may need to contact the retailer and ask them to remove the listing. Once that's done, she should be fine to go forward with re-publishing her book.
Hi! My mom published a book through Tate. I'm trying to help her get her rights back so she may publish through a different company. Any ideas? Or could I at least bea part of the closed FB group for her sake? Thanks for any info/help!
See my post, above. The preliminary hearing in the Tates' trial is scheduled for this coming February. I'll provide updates as I receive them.
Has anyone heard about the outcome of the trial with Tate? Is there any justice for the authors?
These people give publishers a bad name, so sad to hear all the people conned out of money, but as Kim Forstater said, it's more than the money. People put their heart and soul into books, and to be left with nothing is so cruel.
I'm happy to help if anyone would like any publishing advice.
aka The Kindle King
Unfortunately, I was an author scammed. I gave them $5k of my hard earned money too. Putting my heart and soul into telling my life story of tragedy and battles with cancer to never giving up. I never received a dime nor did i get the service I paid for. They deserve everything they get…bunch of thieves.
I published with Tate back in 2014. I had a fairly good experience with them in the marketing of my book and getting it out to the online websites, but suspected I was not being paid according to sales on Amazon and other online sellers. I never received my audio or video services and that is when I found out about the issues. At this point, I am hoping that there is some type of resolution as I am not going to send $50 bucks to them to give me all of my files. What a crock that is.
I had my book published through Tate back in 2009 and I didn't have any trouble with them, although I was never certain if I was receiving all my royalties because I never figured out how to know how many of my books actually sold. I think they were doing okay in the beginning and then they started the slide into greed and wrongdoing. I did check into their background and asked a lot of questions before I signed my contract and didn't see any red flags. I got all the books I paid for and was pleased with the results so they must have gone downhill fast after that. I feel very bad for everyone who lost not only money but the dream of getting published. If you believe in your book, music, etc don't give up.
Author Solutions has many layers of protection but is another publishing house that needs some scrutiny. they focus on up-selling their services but fail to perform/deliver the services that they sell. My experience was expensive. all work was farmed out to the Philippines with significant language issue.
Finally the law caught up to them. I was one of the authors they took for money 10 days from release they went out of business. Now being without money I had to independently publish my book through createspace. My blog has my story of Tate jdmyers1562.blogspot.com
I have recently use balboapress.au to publish my childrens book.but now I heard about them and im worried that their scam and my book isn't finish yet.
What do I do? Do I stop them publishing my book.or let them finish it.hoping the do their work for publishing my books
I spent $4,000 of my hard-earned money to have my book published by Tate never made a penny. My book is a true story about my daughter's cancer & death and how Faith got us through seven years of many many issues with her. All I wanted to do is help other people and I got scammed.
Writers are constatnly pilfered with give me your money sites, I'm gratefull for Writers Beware.
Author Solutions should be the next!
To Tate Publishing Company: Greetings From The Philippines!
Thanks for the update. We created a closed facebook group for ex-Tate authors and artists. We motivated many colleagues to enter complaint. We share info and advice. And support eachother.
Hats off to Attorney General Mike Hunter. We need more of his kind in office throughout the country.
So sorry for all those who were scammed. Glad that justice is being served.
M. Katherine Clark,
To my knowledge there's no class action planned or ongoing. I don't think there's much point to a class action, given the amount of money the Tates owe and the pending criminal charges. The Attorney General has promised to find assets and provide author reparations; I think contacting the AG's office to add your name to the list is your best bet.
Is there any information for authors to be involved in a class action? I would participate as I experienced the same treatment from Tate.
I am saddened by this news. Apparently, I am one of many authors who was scammed. Now I understand why I had difficulty receiving royalty checks. The company published two of my books and those are now out of print. I signed on with another company a couple of months ago to publish my third. I think the thing that saddens me the most is that Tate claimed to be Christian and asserted its belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
State attorney generals are often highly political, showing a preference for cases that are flashy and impress voters in their own state. That's why Oklahoma AG Mike Hunter deserves praise for taking on this one. Its main beneficiaries will be writers from all over who'll probably never get a chance to vote for him.
No one's going to miss them.
I was hounded by them when first looking to publish- Thank goodness I now publish through my own trademark and company. I know a guy who sang the praises of Tate I had to wonder about them for sure as this gentleman well he was not above some of the same behavior as them- I have met several writers since then who feel used and scammed by Tate.
I remember running into Tate a few years ago when I was trying to find an agent. Something about them rubbed me the wrong way; I'm glad my instincts were good. Also glad they're getting what they deserved. As if we writers and musicians and other artists don't have enough stress to begin with!
Thank God I never submitted anything to them.
I've heard bad things about Tate Publishing for a long time. Good to hear that they're being prosecuted.
Long overdue, in my opinion.
Now, if only we could get law enforcement to act on Author Solutions' abuses in the same way, the world would be a better place for new authors.