…comes to us by way of our great and good friend Earl Cooley III on Google+.
It starts with the arrest of Mitchell Gross on charges of wire fraud and money laundering. According to the indictment, Gross defrauded a woman he met online of $3 million.
Okay, so? Mitchell Gross is also known as “Mitchell Graham”; he published fantasy books with HarperCollins and mysteries with Tor and Forge.
And then this is where it really starts to get weird. Gross claims to be a championship fencer (there are some questions about that claim; it seems clear, at the very least, that he was not on the US Olympic fencing teams in 1984 and 1988). Gross also claimed to have been a practicing lawyer for twenty years, and that he quit practicing in order to go back to school and earn a doctorate in neuropsychology. (Gross was actually disbarred in 1990, and convicted of practicing law without a license in 1992.)
And then it gets weirder. Gross may have set up his own fake writing contest, complete with judging by Ben Bova, and used that to get published. (“Mr. Bova told us that he had indeed been hired as a contest judge–the only one, so far as he was aware. He was a bit surprised to discover that there was also only one finalist, but went ahead and did as he was asked–to read the manuscript and judge if it was fit to win.“)
The best roundup of this is at the Writer Beware blog. Be sure to read the comments, as people seem to be digging up more information on Mr. Gross. There’s also a lot of good stuff in the linked AJC article.