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Help with Publishing Fraud

Updated on March 17, 2011

Author: W. K. Hayes

Publisher Fraud

In my own opinion and after my own experiences and reading some of the experiences of fellow writer's, I am providing this information. Many of you may not be aware what options you have in contending with publishing companies and their erroneous disregard for Federal Law. In most instances, many of you may believe that your case against them is merely a civil matter to be, settled in a lawsuit. However, you should know that if you have receipts from any book sells and yet, your publisher sent you a statement clearly showing no sales, this is a Federal offense. Falsifying documentation is a criminal offence. However, many of us live in states other than the state of the publisher. Any crime that crosses state borders automatically falls under federal jurisdiction. Some matters are a civil matter and should be, handled in a lawsuit. However, if you have received a royalty statement from them that is contrary to the receipts you have, available; this is a crime. In addition, you can file a complaint with Internal Revenue Service because obviously, if they are refusing to pay you, they also refusing to pay taxes from the sales of your book. If you feel they have violated your legal rights, you can press charges against them using the following address. Please be sure to include your evidence of wrongdoing at the time of filing you complaint.

Mr. Eric Holder, U. S. Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530-0001

Most people file their complaints with the Better Business Bureau. However, if they have failed to pay you as indicated by their website, the BBB will accept the complaint but only if they withheld money owed you such as, payment for services rendered. Remember, they cannot help you unless it is in regards to a company owing you for services.

The Council of Better Business Bureaus

4200 Wilson Blvd, Suite 800

Arlington, VA 22203-1838

If they have clearly stated that you have had no sells and yet, you have solid evidence of sales such as receipts from family members, you may file a complaint with the IRS to make them aware of the situation. Obviously, if they are refusing to pay you what you are entitled to and then they are impeding the IRS from collecting taxes owed. The IRS uses Form 911 for filing complaints that should be, addressed to the Inspector General. You can find the form using the following website.

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration


P.O. Box 589

Ben Franklin Station

Washington, DC 20044-0589

The information posted here can be, used for any publishing company that makes false claims regarding royalties owed you. In my opinion, as writers, we are all we have, in this business. If your, legal rights were violated by a company or any other, company you do have steps you can take to seek justice and I highly recommend you do so.

I have already submitted my evidence to the Department of Justice to be, used against this particular company in the hope that future writers will have better protection against anyone that would take advantage of us. After all, the pen is mightier than the sword. If you are owed royalties and your publisher sends you a royalty statement saying you have had no sales or sales less than what you can prove, press charges on them.

In addition, you can file a formal complaint with the F. B. I. through their Internet Crime Complaints Center at the following website address. Please be sure to read their instruction regarding what they do and what they will do. Still, they can help stop fraudulent publish companies from taking advantage of any more writers.



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    • profile image

      barbara 5 years ago

      Is there a way to find out how many books I sold besides the information from the publisher? I can't prove anything but I am confused as to why the royalty check was so small. I have emailed requesting a statement as to the exact number of books sold and am waiting, but is there another source where I can get this number/ Thanks so much for your advice. I believe that I am working with a small reputable company that has been in business about 25 years.

    • W. K. Hayes profile image

      Warren Keith Hayes 6 years ago from Bryson City, North Carolina

      Hi Yenajeon...I'm glad you found this information useful and I hope you do bookmark it encase you ever find a need for it.

    • yenajeon profile image

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      What a great resource, rated useful!

    • W. K. Hayes profile image

      Warren Keith Hayes 6 years ago from Bryson City, North Carolina

      Hi Candlish, I'll send you an email with the information and a brief expalnation why I don't post the sites directly here and if anyone else wants that information please feel free to contact me.

    • Candelish profile image

      Mindy 6 years ago from Florida

      I've been looking at I-Universe for the self-publishing angle if it's needed and about 4 major publishers and have narrowed it down to 4 agents. I'm pretty sure this is in Hubpages somewhere, but is there a website that lists the bad agents/publishers? It would probably be just my luck... Murphy's law should have my picture next to it, at least then it'd be good for a few laughs. :-)

    • W. K. Hayes profile image

      Warren Keith Hayes 6 years ago from Bryson City, North Carolina

      Hi Candelish and welcome to Hubpages. Before you try to publish your work with any publisher, research the company and when you get done, research them again before you agree to anything. Same thing with Agents, before you accept an agent make sure you know more about the agent or you could ruin your reputation as a writer just by association.

    • Candelish profile image

      Mindy 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi Mr. Hayes, I am a complete novice to the literary world and have just placed my first chapter on hub pages for review. I’d like to see if the experts here think it’s marketable before sending to my publisher. My question is, if you have the documentation proving the sales figures and can ensure the publishing company receives them in a specified time and able to verify for themselves, is it still such a battle to ensure proper royalties? (So far I’ve heard all the happy stories from publishers so now I want to get to the truth.) Thank you for publishing this, it is much appreciated.

    • W. K. Hayes profile image

      Warren Keith Hayes 6 years ago from Bryson City, North Carolina

      Hi Will Starr...I am glad you enjoyed this posting. Please bookmark this site encase you ever need this information for prosecuting any publisher who crosses the line with a blatant disregard for Federal Law.

    • W. K. Hayes profile image

      Warren Keith Hayes 6 years ago from Bryson City, North Carolina

      Thanks Rhonda...I'm really glad to be back. Make sure you keep this information handy encase you ever need it. Although, I hope you never do.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Great advice and appreciated!

    • Rhonda Waits profile image

      Rhonda Musch 6 years ago from The Emerald Coast

      Thank you I appreciate these words of wisdom and warning.

      Great job. Voted up.

      Glad your back.

      Sweet wishes Rhonda