Monday, October 11, 2010

New Century Publishing: Update

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

In August, I wrote a post about Indiana-based vanity press New Century Publishing, whose owner, David Caswell, was being investigated by the Indiana Attorney General for taking authors' money and failing to publish their books.

I'm a bit late with this follow-up, but a lawsuit against Caswell and New Century was filed by the AG's Office in Marion County Circuit Court on August 17. Caswell is accused of multiple violations of the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, as well as interchanging corporate and fictitious names in order to mislead and confuse customers, commingling corporate and personal funds, and the use of customer funds for other than their designated purposes. Sixteen writers are named in the complaint, and thousands of dollars in fees for publishing, finished books (most never delivered), and other services (such as a table at a book signing event) are detailed.

The AG is requesting both injunctive relief (all of it consumer-focused, since Caswell is being charged under the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, and none of it specifically to do with publishing), and financial relief, including customer restitution "in an amount to be determined at trial" and penalties of $5,500 per violation.

The full text of the complaint can be seen here.

Caswell has been sued twice before by the Indiana Attorney General, once in 1990 and once in 2005, both times for consumer fraud. Of a total of nearly $100,000 in fines, he has allegedly paid just $600.

Will the AG manage to make him pay up this time, if the requested penalties are assessed? Stay tuned.

Edited to add: As reported in this news article, 24 additional complaints were added on Thursday to the original complaint, bringing the number of authors up to 40.

6 comments:

Scooter Carlyle said...

It can be devilishly difficult to collect on both civil judgments and criminal fines. I feel terrible for those poor authors, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

I hope they slap a lien on everything he owns.

Alessandra said...

I know of some authors who had similar problems in Italy, vanity pays...

Michael A. Banks said...

I was approached by these people months ago. They seem to have collected contact info for writers, and telephoned me to offer a "partner" deal to publish a book. I declined. Writers don't pay; they are paid.
--Mike

cussedness said...

David Caswell is believed to be one of David Boyer's personae.

Victoria Strauss said...

I am VERY skeptical of that. Mr. Caswell's activities (as documented in three lawsuits and two judgments) aren't anything like David Boyer's, and there's no evidence that Caswell has ever been involved with the horror field. I think the fact that they share a first name and a home state is just coincidence.

Anonymous said...

I submitted a manuscript to them and fortunately, had the good sense not to pay them any money -- Don't need the vanity. However, I've yet to get a manuscript returned, fortunately it is protected in my name. However, I stumbled on this hoping to track them down -- At least now I know these guys are crooks.