According to the US judiciary, the suspect acted in a complex manner. When Bernardini approached the book, he pretended to be an employee of a publishing house. He succeeded thanks to his 160 domain name records, which are very similar to the names of famous publishing houses. For example, Bernardini used penguinrandornhouse.com instead of penguinrandomhouse.com, and replaced the letters “m” with the successive letters “r” and “n”.
Writers have been asked to submit unpublished works. The success of this method is evidenced by the thousands of emails the suspect has saved. Between August 2016 and July 2021, according to Justice, Bernardini approached hundreds of writers and looted hundreds of unpublished stories.
Atwood and McEwan are also victims
Interestingly, Bernardini pretended to be a publisher, but had spent the past six years working with English publishers. For the past two years he has been working for Simon & Schuster, one of the largest publishers of novels in Great Britain. The company wrote in a statement that it was shocked and that the FBI is grateful for the investigation and charges brought against their employee.
The names of the scam writers have not yet been revealed, but several authors have previously stated that they were approached in a similar way. They include Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Sally Rooney and actor Ethan Hawke. Not only were well-known writers involved, but novices also turned out to be targets of manuscript thief, just like writers outside the English-speaking region.
The Dutchman Hannah Barvoet and the Belgian Saskia de Koster were contacted; Only the Bervoets manuscript was blackmailed. An unsuspecting employee of the publishing house sent the manuscript to the fraudster.
Hanna Berfowitz: Stealing the Work
Bervoets’ publisher, Mizzi van der Pluijm, is relieved that a suspect has been arrested. You’re not surprised that Bernardini comes from the publishing world. It’s very difficult to get your hands on a manuscript like this. You must know exactly who you are emailing when they are inside a publishing house and who has access to the manuscripts. This is impossible for an outsider to do. So she is convinced that Bernardini is also the one who deceived her employees. ‘There is no other way.’
What Bernardini did with the stolen manuscripts remains a mystery. None of the authors demanded a ransom, and the work was not published anywhere. Van der Pluijm suspects the scroll thief was all about stress and adrenaline. Otherwise, this manuscript will not help you. Who knows, there might be an amazing story behind it. Other than that there is a good novel out there anyway.
“Lifelong food practitioner. Zombie geek. Explorer. Reader. Subtly charming gamer. Entrepreneur. Devoted analyst.”