Writers and Musicians Beware -Written by Angela Hoy
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said, “The means by which brothers Ryan and Richard Tate conducted business to defraud individuals from across the country is unconscionable and a blatant disregard for those who entrusted them to produce their work.”
And, the Tates call themselves Christians. Pppfffftttt!!! More on that below.
As many of you know from our past coverage of Tate Publishing’s shady dealings, and ultimate (and expected) demise, they were accused of failing to pay royalties, and accepting money for services that were never performed – right up until they closed their doors. We speculate (but, of course, can’t prove) that they knew they were going under, but kept collecting money for services anyway, perhaps padding their pockets on the way out the door? On a Facebook page set up for victims of Tate Publishing, I let the authors know that accepting money for services you never intend to perform is a crime. Many authors were assuming they’d have to file civil cases against the firm. I predicted they’d be arrested. And, they were. When you charge people for services just weeks or days before you close your doors, suspicions mount.
– Non-payment of author royalties dating back months
– Services not provided and book orders not fulfilled, even after authors paid thousands
– Money received by authors was being funneled into the Tates personal accounts, and being used for casinos, etc.
– Since royalties weren’t being paid, it’s believed the money received from booksellers and distributors for book sales was not being distributed to authors but, rather, was being funneled into the Tates personal accounts.
– When they closed their doors, Tate posted statements on their website saying authors could pay them $50 for copies of their files (files those authors had already paid Tate to create!). In order to get those files, authors were also required to sign a contract stating: “I agree to indemnify and hold harmless Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC and its subsidiaries, officers, executives, employees, and any such heirs they may have. I understand that termination of these agreements does not entitle me to any refund or monetary compensation whatsoever.”
So, authors had to pay $50 AND waive their rights to any refund or future legal action just to, again, get copies of files they’d already paid Tate THOUSANDS to create.
“Embezzlement is the act of withholding assets for the purpose of conversion (theft) of such assets, by one or more persons to whom the assets were entrusted, either to be held or to be used for specific purposes.” (Wikipedia)
If Tate was accepting money for book sales from Ingram (the largest book distributor) and retailers, and eventually funneling that money into their personal bank accounts instead of paying their authors’ royalties, that would likely be embezzlement.
If Tate was taking money from authors for services they didn’t intend to perform and, instead of hiring/paying professionals to perform those services, was funneling that money into their personal bank accounts, that, too, would likely be embezzlement.
If Tate was taking money from authors to print copies of their books and, rather than printing those books, funneling that money into their personal bank accounts instead, that would likely be embezzlement.
If Tate refused to send an author a justified refund and, instead, funneled that author’s money into a personal bank account would likely be embezzlement.
“Extortion (also called shakedown, outwresting and exaction) is a criminal offense of obtaining money, property, or services from an individual or institution, through coercion. It is sometimes euphemistically referred to as a ‘protection racket’ since the racketeers often phrase their demands as payment for ‘protection’ from (real or hypothetical) threats from unspecified other parties.” (Wikipedia)
When Tate told authors they needed to pay $50 to get copies of their files, or they could instead have their files destroyed, that was (allegedly) extortion. The fact that Tate also made authors complete a contract stating they wouldn’t sue Tate, and that Tate didn’t owe them any refunds before they could get copies of their files made their actions even worse. In fact, it seems that should be a whole other criminal charge…but I’m no lawyer.
“Pattern of Racketeering Activity” is “obtaining or extorting money illegally or carrying on illegal business activities.”
In a nutshell, this means fraud.
THEY’RE CHRISTIANS? REALLY?!?!
What makes this case even more despicable is that Tate Publishing strongly touted itself as a Christian organization, using it in their advertising, and even putting Bible quotes on the copyright pages of books it published. “Christians” don’t typically embezzle, extort, or racketeer so I, personally, think the whole “Christian” label may have been a ruse to get authors to sign up with Tate Publishing, implying a false sense of security. But, that’s just my opinion. I’m a Christian, too, but I don’t use my faith to promote my business. I really don’t think God wants his flock using his name to make money.
According to a copy of an email from Richard Tate, which was allegedly sent to some Tate authors shortly after he was bailed out of jail, Tate is now allowing authors to order copies of their books, as well as promotional materials. Hmmm. Seems like the Tates have found a way to keep money coming in for their legal fees!
What author in their right mind would send MORE money to a company that has (allegedly!) committed all of these crimes?! I definitely do NOT trust these people!
What’s sad is that so many authors may have failed to research Tate’s reputation before signing on with them, or perhaps just ignored all the bad press. That’s never a good idea! There have been numerous complaints about Tate posted online over the years.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).