Publisher Christine Favara Anderson, who had already spent five years in federal prison for securities fraud, now faces new accusations by the FBI in federal wire fraud and a scheme to rip off friends and authors.
According to an FBI affidavit presented by Special Agent Jane Collins, Anderson lied to people not only about the state of her health in claiming that she was fighting stage 4 cancer, but also about working for the former US president, Donald Trump, and about being friends with prominent celebrities including Morgan Freeman and the late Kobe Bryant.
“I went to the specialist today and we have good news. Although the tumor is inoperable, it is a good candidate for radiation. And is slow growing,” she wrote in a 2015 email to friends and associates, cited by The Daily Beast. “I will begin treatment on January 4th for seven weeks. I am suspecting since its [sic] just radiation I will be tired but not sick, so at this time I don’t anticipate a change in my schedule but I will keep you posted.”
Anderson operated a publishing house between 2017 and 2020, defrauding authors of royalties from the sale of their books. When authors tried to reach out to her and ask about payment, they received various excuses, among which were Anderson undergoing cancer treatment, checks delivered to wrong addresses or even claiming that assistants had stolen her credit cards.
Other reasons that Anderson offered to delay payments were connected with the Patriot Act having "a ten-day hold on seven-figure wires"; private planes delivering checks getting "fogged in the airport" or having a "wheel issue", and religious holidays creating "a wire backlog".
“She said she’d send it as a wire transfer,” recalled Marti Melville, one of the authors, according to The Daily Beast. “Never sent it. I wound up having to pay back my bank the $6,500.”
In emails to clients, Anderson would call for "compassion" and then lash out when asked to pay.
“I am fighting for my life and if you lack the compassion to understand that then let me know and I will be happy to un-publish you and let you move on. Stop acting like heartless human beings", she wrote in an email obtained by the outlet.
In the FBI affidavit, Collins accuses Anderson of "violations of mail fraud and wire fraud". Collins also suggests that Anderson made up a story about her identity being stolen to avoid criminal charges.