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May 4, 2017

The Law Finally Catches Up With Tate Publishing & Enterprises

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware



Today, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed eight felony charges and one misdemeanor charge against Ryan and Richard Tate, respectively CEO and founder of vanity publisher Tate Publishing & Enterprises, for alleged fraudulent business practices.

According to local news station KFOR,
The charges include four felony counts of embezzlement, one felony count of attempted extortion by threat, two felony counts of extortion by threat, one felony count of racketeering and one misdemeanor count of embezzlement.

Since the businesses ceased operations in January, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit has received 718 complaints from authors or musicians who contracted with the companies.

Complaints from customers range from failure to deliver products and services that had been previously paid for; failure to pay royalty earnings, per contractual agreement; and refusal to return files unless the customer agreed to pay a $50 processing fee.

“The means by which 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,” Attorney General Mike Hunter said. “I appreciate the dedication and hard work by the agents and the attorneys in the Consumer Protection Unit, who put this case together.”
Among other findings, investigators discovered that money received from authors was routed, via Tate's business accounts, directly to the personal accounts of Ryan and Richard Tate.

The Tates have been apprehended, with bond set at $100,000 each, and ordered to surrender their passports.

There's more coverage at the Journal Record.

This is good news. Tate is one of the most unscrupulous vanity publishers Writer Beware has ever tracked, and its callous disregard for authors, staff, and creditors was on full display long before it closed its doors last January, amid mountains of debt, hundreds of author complaints, and multiple seven-figure lawsuits. Just days before the Tates' apprehension, Tate Publishing had unexpectedly risen from the dead, claiming to be ready to "once again lead the publishing industry."

For a detailed account of Tate's deceptions, failures, sudden demise, and unexpected resurrection, see my previous blog post.

In a press conference on May 4, Attorney General Hunter promised that his office would seek reparations for Tate authors (though with the multi-million dollar judgments against Tate probably taking priority, I think it's unlikely that much, if anything, will turn out to be available). He also said that Tate Publishing's apparent re-boot, as well as the possibility that the Tates were working on starting up a new venture (possibly another publisher called Lux Creative, about which there have been rumors for some time) were factors in the timing of the arrests. Overall, it's clear that the AG is taking this very seriously.

Ryan Tate, buttonholed by reporters on his way to his arraignment, unsurprisingly declared his innocence.
“We’re looking for our day in court and fighting them and we’ll make sure the truth wins out,” he said.

When asked about the countless victims, he said, “That’s not true, we went out of business for about three months but we have about a thousand authors total so most of them are very, very happy."
Worth noting: in a January interview, Richard Tate was claiming 39,000 authors. I'm guessing that was a teeny bit inflated, but I'd also bet dollars to donuts that Ryan is lowballing. Even if he isn't...we know that 718 Tate authors have complained to the Attorney General since the beginning of this year. So if Tate does have only 1,000 authors, clearly most of them are nowhere close to happy.

The Tates are out on bail at present, and a preliminary hearing is set for September 6. They apparently now have an attorney (two previous attorneys quit for lack of payment).

What can Tate authors do now? You've already done a lot; your complaints to the Attorney General were instrumental in leading to Ryan's and Richard's arrests. The AG has heard from authors not just in the USA, but from all over the world.

But there's still more to be done. The AG is still looking for Tate victims. If you haven't yet filed a complaint, consider doing so now--more complainants will give the AG's office more to work with in building its case against the Tates, and you'll also get your name on the list for restitution, if there is any.

Here's the form to fill out to file your complaint with the AG's Consumer Protection Division. You can also visit the Attorney General's website at https://ok.gov/oag/.

And if you hear any news, please email me or post it here.

UPDATE 8/31/17: The preliminary hearing for Ryan and Richard Tate has been pushed back to November 27. Officials need additional time to investigate author and musician complaints, which right now stand at 1,674.

If you're a Tate author or musician and haven't yet filed a complaint with the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office, you can still do so.

Lightning Source has reportedly stopped pursuing collection of the nearly $2 million Tate owes it, but Xerox is continuing its efforts to recover a similar amount.

21 comments :

JohnDopp said...

Long overdue, in my opinion.

Now, if only we could get law enforcement to act on Author Solutions' abuses in the same way, the world would be a better place for new authors.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I've heard bad things about Tate Publishing for a long time. Good to hear that they're being prosecuted.

Jim Toner said...

Thank God I never submitted anything to them.

Mich said...

I remember running into Tate a few years ago when I was trying to find an agent. Something about them rubbed me the wrong way; I'm glad my instincts were good. Also glad they're getting what they deserved. As if we writers and musicians and other artists don't have enough stress to begin with!

Anonymous said...

I was hounded by them when first looking to publish- Thank goodness I now publish through my own trademark and company. I know a guy who sang the praises of Tate I had to wonder about them for sure as this gentleman well he was not above some of the same behavior as them- I have met several writers since then who feel used and scammed by Tate.

Pat Dilloway said...

No one's going to miss them.

Inkling said...

State attorney generals are often highly political, showing a preference for cases that are flashy and impress voters in their own state. That's why Oklahoma AG Mike Hunter deserves praise for taking on this one. Its main beneficiaries will be writers from all over who'll probably never get a chance to vote for him.

Anonymous said...

I am saddened by this news. Apparently, I am one of many authors who was scammed. Now I understand why I had difficulty receiving royalty checks. The company published two of my books and those are now out of print. I signed on with another company a couple of months ago to publish my third. I think the thing that saddens me the most is that Tate claimed to be Christian and asserted its belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

M. Katherine Clark said...

Is there any information for authors to be involved in a class action? I would participate as I experienced the same treatment from Tate.

Andrea Lawson said...

XACTLY!!!
HUGE PROBLEM!

Victoria Strauss said...

M. Katherine Clark,

To my knowledge there's no class action planned or ongoing. I don't think there's much point to a class action, given the amount of money the Tates owe and the pending criminal charges. The Attorney General has promised to find assets and provide author reparations; I think contacting the AG's office to add your name to the list is your best bet.

Dennis Doty said...

Hats off to Attorney General Mike Hunter. We need more of his kind in office throughout the country.

So sorry for all those who were scammed. Glad that justice is being served.

Guido kees said...

Thanks for the update. We created a closed facebook group for ex-Tate authors and artists. We motivated many colleagues to enter complaint. We share info and advice. And support eachother.

Anonymous said...

To Tate Publishing Company: Greetings From The Philippines!

Anonymous said...

Author Solutions should be the next!

Marta C. Weeks said...

Writers are constatnly pilfered with give me your money sites, I'm gratefull for Writers Beware.

Marilyn Hawkins said...

I spent $4,000 of my hard-earned money to have my book published by Tate never made a penny. My book is a true story about my daughter's cancer & death and how Faith got us through seven years of many many issues with her. All I wanted to do is help other people and I got scammed.

Fa Dublin said...

I have recently use balboapress.au to publish my childrens book.but now I heard about them and im worried that their scam and my book isn't finish yet.
What do I do? Do I stop them publishing my book.or let them finish it.hoping the do their work for publishing my books

Jonathan Myers said...

Finally the law caught up to them. I was one of the authors they took for money 10 days from release they went out of business. Now being without money I had to independently publish my book through createspace. My blog has my story of Tate jdmyers1562.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Author Solutions has many layers of protection but is another publishing house that needs some scrutiny. they focus on up-selling their services but fail to perform/deliver the services that they sell. My experience was expensive. all work was farmed out to the Philippines with significant language issue.

Terry R. said...

I had my book published through Tate back in 2009 and I didn't have any trouble with them, although I was never certain if I was receiving all my royalties because I never figured out how to know how many of my books actually sold. I think they were doing okay in the beginning and then they started the slide into greed and wrongdoing. I did check into their background and asked a lot of questions before I signed my contract and didn't see any red flags. I got all the books I paid for and was pleased with the results so they must have gone downhill fast after that. I feel very bad for everyone who lost not only money but the dream of getting published. If you believe in your book, music, etc don't give up.

 
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