Chuck Palahniuk, author of “Fight Club” says he’s almost broke, thanks to embezzlement. Palahniuk said on his website that an accountant for his literary agency, Donadio & Olson, made off with $3.5 million. The agency represents Palahniuk, James Hynes and Rick DeMarinis, as well as the estates of Mario Puzo and Studs Terkel. According to Palahniuk, the agency is also facing bankruptcy.
The FBI arrested an accountant on suspicion of wire fraud. According to the Department of Justice, he “provided bookkeeping services for the Agency and carried out his scheme by making unauthorized transfers.” The DOJ also said in a press release that he made changes to the agency’s accounting system to evade detection. Investigators believe that the accountant began stealing client funds in 2011. They believe the accountant intercepted royalties, sent royalty statements without the corresponding cash, and altered royalty statements to skim cash.
The accountant pled guilty in federal court in New York to the wire fraud charge against him. Palahniuk says that he has had to forego invitations to trade shows and conventions because he cannot finance his travel. Authors routinely pay their expenses for appearances.
The FBI began investigating the theft about a year ago, after an author inquired about an advance payment from a publisher. Palahniuk said he also began to suspect theft when his income declined significantly. He said he complained to his literary firm regularly about what he believed was missing money. The accounting firm met his inquiries about his money with excuses instead of payments.
Donadio & Olson, based in New York, was founded in 1969. The agency has represented numerous well-known authors, including Thomas Pynchon, Joseph Heller, Phillip Roth and Robert Stone. According to a DOJ press release, the court will sentence the accountant in November.
Los Angeles Embezzlement Attorney
Embezzlement is a financial crime, and can produce stiff penalties and fines. When you face embezzlement charges, hire an experienced embezzlement attorney like Robert Helfend to represent you. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal courtroom defense. He takes embezzlement cases in any federal circuit in the United States. He also represents criminal defendants in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County embezzlement case.
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