The New York Times and other sources have reported that “Filippo Bernardini, an Italian citizen who worked in publishing,” has been arrested by the FBI for fraud and identity theft. Bernandini stole numerous unpublished manuscripts over five years, mainly through email phishing scams. Bernandini’s motives have yet to surface. From the Times:
For years, the scheme has baffled people in the book world. Works by high-profile writers and celebrities like Margaret Atwood and Ethan Hawke have been targeted, but so have story collections and works by first-time authors. When manuscripts were successfully stolen, none of them seemed to show up on the black market or the dark web. Ransom demands never materialized. Indeed, the indictment details how Mr. Bernardini went about the scheme, but not why.
I’m guessing Bernandini may have his own book deal pretty soon.