S.R.Claridge writes Mystery and Romantic Suspense novels. Her work has been said to have the energy of Dan Brown, the mystery of Mary Higgins Clark and the humor of Janet Evanovich. Claridge novels will take you to the edge of your seat, keep you guessing until the very end and ultimately warm your heart. It is on the pages of every S.R.Claridge novel that Mystery and Sensual Suspense collide.

For more information on bookings, interviews and upcoming releases, please visit the author website and Facebook fan page.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Criminal Charges

I’ve received some emails wherein people have been asking for specific details (as in the legalities) of what Vanilla Heart Publishing did wrong.  Many of you have asked if the charges against Vanilla Heart are criminal.  Since I’ve touched on the specific breach of contract in previous blogs, I decided to define some basic terminology in hopes of providing clarity. 

Fraud: the crime of cheating somebody; the crime of obtaining money or some other benefit by deliberate deception; somebody who deceives; somebody who deliberately deceives somebody else, usually for financial gain.  Fraud is a felony charge.

Scheme or Artifice to Defraud:  the deprivation of something of value by fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises, trick, chicane or overreaching; it connotes a planning to defraud and/or a pattern of fraudulent behavior.  This is a felony charge.

Copyright Infringement:  to disobey or disregard the copyright; to fail to obey or observe the terms of the copyright law.

Copyright Infringement is a felony.  On October 8, 1992 Congress approved the Copyright Felony Act.  Title 17 of the United States Code defines criminal copyright infringement as willful infringement for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain.  Running a close second to copyright infringement is piracy, also another felony charge.  

Breach of Contract:  a failure to obey, keep or preserve a law, trust or promise; a breach of confidentiality; a breakdown in contractual obligations or relations.  This is usually dealt with in a civil court, when criminal charges do not come into play.

Theft: the act or crime of stealing somebody else’s property and/or money.

Just for fun let’s look specifically at what the State of Washington (home to Vanilla Heart Publishing) has to say about theft. 

Definition of Theft
Section 9A.56.020 of the Revised Code of Washington defines theft as the wrongful taking of property or services with the intent to deprive the owner of his property or the services he provides. Theft can be committed by actually stealing the property or by receiving the property from the owner through some act of deception.  This is a felony charge.

Second-Degree Theft
In Washington, a person can be charged with second-degree theft in accordance with Section 9A.56.040 if she steals property or services with a value of at least $750, but less than $5,000, or any public record kept in a public office. The Revised Code of Washington classifies second-degree theft as a Class C felony.

Clearly, more than civil charges can be brought against Vanilla Heart.  Subpoenaed sales statements and royalty reports alone are concrete evidence of theft; a felony charge.  That is without even mentioning the breach of contract leading to copyright infringement, artifice to defraud and fraudulent behavior as documented in email testimony by numerous authors and in email correspondence from the publisher. 

I hope this answers some of the basic questions.  ~

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