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SciFi literary agent sent down

19/12/2006. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Bad-egg science fiction agent pleads guilty to fifteen counts of mail fraud, one count of fraud in connection with an access device, and one count of bankruptcy fraud.

Glenn T. Suddaby, United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, and William Chase, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Albany Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has announced that MARTHA IVERY a/k/a KELLY O'DONNELL, age 57, of Catskill, New York, pled guilty on Monday, December 5, 2005, to fifteen counts of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, one count of fraud in connection with an access device, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029, and one count of bankruptcy fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 152. The guilty pleas were entered in United States District Court in Albany, New York before Chief District Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr., who will sentence IVERY on April 28, 2006, 11:30 a.m. in Albany, New York. IVERY faces a maximum term of up to 20 years in prison for mail fraud, 10 years for fraud in connection with an access device and 5 years for bankruptcy fraud. IVERY is also subject to up to 3 years supervised release, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and an order of restitution to pay defrauded victims.

As part of her guilty plea, MARTHA IVERY a/k/a KELLY O'DONNELL, admitted that, from May 1995 through September 2002, as charged in the indictment, she engaged in a scheme to defraud prospective authors of monies paid to have their books published and, as part of this scheme:
Presented two separate persona to prospective authors: Martha Ivery, Publisher, Press-TIGE Publishing Company, Inc., and Kelly O'Donnell, Literary Agent, Kelly O'Donnell Literary Agency, Inc.

Obtained payments in advance of publishing from a given prospective author both in her persona as Martha Ivery and in her separate persona as Kelly O'Donnell, without disclosing to the prospective author that they were one and the same person.

Demanded and accepted a variety of fee payments prior to publication of a given book, including initial payments to publish, separate fees for representation by a literary agent, separate fees for editing, separate fees for illustrations, separate fees for a Special Markets Program, and separate fees for a prospective author to purchase copies of her own book prior to publication, and offered a variety of excuses for non-publication years following the initial payment, including: problems with illustrations, problems with printers, lost manuscripts, computer viruses, failed computer disks, and production backlogs due to the large volume of retail orders placed through Press-TIGE.

Made false representations regarding book signings, international book fairs and expos, complimentary cruise vacations and travel, as well as appearances on television talk shows.

Attempted to insulate herself and Press-TIGE from the demands of dissatisfied prospective authors, filed to place Press-TIGE Publishing Company, Inc. into bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of New York, and reconstituted Press-TIGE in a new entity, New Millennium Publishing House, Inc., and continued to solicit payments from the same prospective authors under the auspices of the new entity.

In connection with the guilty plea, the United States advised that it would argue at sentencing that IVERY defrauded more than 100 prospective authors with collective losses totaling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The charges against IVERY follow an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Further inquiries can be directed to Assistant U. S. Attorney Thomas A. Capezza, Albany, New York at (518) 431-0247.

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