Plot point: How one man (and his many companies) allegedly scammed wanna-be writers


So, you want to be a writer? You think you have some talent, maybe an idea that people need to know about, or perhaps you have the next great novel swirling in your brain, and you're not quite sure about how to get noticed.

You have a lot of company, and that's what makes you a target to get ripped off. Following a lengthy investigation (involving 175 complaints) by the Florida Attorney General's office into Robert M. Fletcher, his girlfriend and two accomplices, along with a large collection of purported companiessoliciting writers who wanted to get published -- the state filed a lawsuit that details an elaborate alleged scam that ran for at least four years, with victims from throughout the U.S. and as far away as China.

"Through a constantly changing spider web of defunct corporations in Florida, Nevada and Wyoming, as well as websites, and unregistered businesses, Fletcher has created a business which generates hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from prospective authors relying on the unfair and deceptive advertising," according to the lawsuit.

A woman answering the phone listed on one of the sites run by Fletcher said no one there would be able to respond due to the pending legal issue, but offered an email address to direct any questions. An email to that address received a reply that Fletcher was interested in responding and the request had been forwarded to him.