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Monday, February 27, 2012

Jdate Grifter pleads guilty

Mitchell Gross, a Marietta-based author of novels with really great titles like The Emerald Cavern and Circle of Lies, has pled guilty to grifting millions from his marks, including a woman he met on the dating website Jdate. The AJC has been following the story since it developed last fall.

Gross claimed at times to have "made millions by selling a company that put law library books on CD," to be a "former member of the U.S. National Fencing Squad," to have made great investments with a broker named Michael Johnson of The Merrill Company, and that Stephen Spielberg had optioned his books for film. None of that seems to be true, except for the fact that he did actually publish books with horrendously bad covers.

Perhaps using novels as the key to elaborate grifting schemes is a new form of employment for ambitious novelists? The last time I read a Dan Brown novel I thought I had been the victim of an elaborate grifting scheme, too.

But what about the twenty-something five star review of his novel Circle of Lies on Amazon? What will happen to the legions of fans who claim to love his "fast paced, riveting" novels? Well, the AJC says that lawyers also dug this tidbit up: "they found something else in the computers: glowing reviews Gross had written under assumed names of his own books and then posted on bookselling Web sites like Amazon.com."

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