This alert may be reprinted/redistributed freely. Please spread the word so all victims will have a voice in this matter. -Angela Hoy, WritersWeekly.com
JANET KAY & ASSOCIATES WILL GET OFF EASY - BIG TIME!
May not be required to pay full, agreed-upon restitution? No jail time?!
By Angela Hoy, WritersWeekly.com
SEND YOUR COMPLAINTS TO THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY, THE U.S. ATTORNEY AND THE JUDGE HIMSELF!
As you may all remember, Janet Kay & Associates (including her husband George Titsworth) were accused of ripping off hundreds of hopeful authors in a horrible scheme of deceit. With the help of many writing websites and discussion lists, she and her husband were finally caught, indicted and arrested.
Months later (last week), we received an email from the District Attorney letting us know the Titsworths plan to plead guilty in November, will serve no prison time, and have agreed to pay restitution...even though they don't have the money. The terms of the deal are a bit vague, but are included below. I'm no lawyer, but this is what I believe all the bantering means.
Even though the district attorney knows Janet and George don't have the money, he's letting them plead guilty, serve no jail time, and promise to "pay" $100K in restitution. He said, "There's a difference between the restitution ordered and the judgment obtained. Realistically, they can't pay the full amount and the court will not set them up to fail by requiring repayment of the full amount during the term of the probation."
You, I, the district attorney, and everybody else know you can't make people pay money they don't have. And, if I understand the D.A.'s emails correctly, even if they don't pay, they won't go to jail (because they won't be required to pay the full amount during the "term of the probation"). So, you, the victims, won't get your money back, and Janet and George, after crushing the dreams (and wallets) of more than 500 alleged victims (per the Victim/Witness Coordinator), get to just go on with their dishonest lives.
Does this anger you? Yes, I'm furious, too!
The D.A.'s emails indicate he thought he'd have a hard time getting victims from out of state to testify. I don't believe this would have been the case given the number of victims (enough manuscripts "to fill a jail cell" according to the initial investigator). Again (this warrants repeating!), the district attorney then allowed them to offer to plead guilty in exchange for payment of $100K in restitution...which, according to the D.A., they don't even have, and may never be required to fully pay anyway.
The D.A. then explained this guilty plea would make it easier for the victims to sue in civil court - meaning, in my opinion, that he appears to be pushing the liability and expense of this entire criminal case on YOU, THE VICTIM, to be battled in civil court later - again, against two people who no longer have your money anyway! The District Attorney also assigns partial blame to the U.S. Attorney who rejected this case twice (they could have been tried on federal charges).
So, Janet and George get to walk away, probably won't ever have to pay the full amount - may never pay anything at all - nor serve any prison time, and if you want your money back, YOU'LL have to pay money to sue THEM.
Since Janet and George, according to the D.A. himself, don't have the money to pay restitution anyway, why in the world are they letting them go free? What went wrong?
Well, according to the District Attorney, they could have been prosecuted in federal court for alleged wire fraud, but the U.S. Attorney refused to take this case twice. If you are a victim, I strongly encourage you to voice your opposition about this decision to the U.S. Attorney. His contact information is below.
Let's face it folks. We're not talking about a dozen of so victims. We're talking about what the victim/witness coordinator claims may be more than 500 victims, some of whom were elderly and couldn't afford to lose anything! We're talking about a couple that claimed they were "Christians" in what appeared to be a way to create trust and to gather more victims! Their victims claim they even concocted stories about illness to further fool their victims! Something is terribly wrong with our justice system if you can rip off that many people, crush their dreams, empty their wallets, and walk away free while promising to pay money you and the courts know you don't even have!!!
A copy of the emails I exchanged with the D.A. are below. Please read them and form your own opinion about this ridiculous conclusion to years of pain and financial suffering caused by Janet Kay and George Titsworth.
EMAIL SENT TO KNOWN VICTIMS BY THE VICTIM/WITNESS OFFICE:
Dear Ms. Hoy:
George and Janet Kay Titsworth were indicted and
arrested on a charge of theft committed during the
operation of their business, Janet Kay & Associates.
The Titsworths will be entering a guilty plea in
November and will be receiving a sentence of 10 years
deferred adjudication probation and will be ordered to
pay a total of $100,000.00 in restitution. Our office
is trying to verify addresses so restitution can be
paid out & any confiscated manuscripts can be returned.
Please respond to this email with your correct address
so we can ensure that any restitution and manuscripts
will be correctly distributed.
Karla Johnston - firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Green County District Attorney's Office
I'm not a victim. We're a publication that helped alert
victims and warn potential victims. I will post your
note in our issue on Wednesday.
I'm very upset they won't do jail time. I believe the
$100K is just a drop in the bucket for the incredible
amount of financial and emotional harm they've done.
This is no more than a slap on the wrist. Please pass
our opinion along to the D.A. Looks like they took the
easy way out. Quite disappointing to my fellow writers
and quite encouraging to other scammers in the industry
who haven't been caught yet. I wonder if the victims
even had a say in this decision.
With that sentence and low fine, looks like Janet Kay &
THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S RESPONSE:
Karla forwarded my email to the D.A. and he responded
by stating he had "limited authority" to subpoena out
of state witnesses but that the federal government, who
had more authority, had twice refused the case. He said
the victims wouldn't have received any restitution if
the Titsworths went to prison and that they'd be
required to pay "a substantial amount" up front. (In a
later email, he said, "Basically, I can probably only
get about 50% of the restitution out of them as a
condition of probation...") Hmmm...
He also said, in the initial email, that, by taking a
felony plea, they might still have to serve a maximum
prison term if they fail to successfully complete
probation. In a later email he said, "If they don't pay
the money ordered, then their probation can be revoked
and they can be sent to prison." But, again, as stated
above, he said, "Realistically, they can't pay the full
amount and the court will not set them up to fail by
requiring repayment of the full amount during the term
of the probation." If you interpret that the same way
as I do - it looks like they'll NEVER go to jail.
And, even if the D.A. manages to get half of the
judgment (not likely, in my opinion), that's $50,000.
Divide that by 500 victims (there may be more!), and
that averages $100 measly bucks per victim.
On October 10th, I asked the D.A. for the name and
address of the judge for this case. He didn't answer my
question so I obtained it from the Victim/Witness
Coordinator, Molly Thurman. It's near the end of this
article. The D.A. also asked me not to publish anything
until after the plea "to prevent polluting any
potential jury pool." I initially agreed, but that was
before I realized the victims weren't aware of all the
facts in this case (and before I heard from victims
that they hadn't been consulted about this deal).
MY OCTOBER 10TH EMAIL TO THE D.A.:
We've received so many complaints about this situation
that I'm planning to publish this story this week. The
victims deserve to be heard and to know what's going on
now, before any final deal is signed by the judge.
Please let me know if you'd like to send an official
statement for publication. Our readers will want to
know exactly why Janet and George are walking free
while promising to pay money the government knows they
don't even have. The majority of victims we've heard
from also want to know why they weren't consulted about
this deal. They want the Titsworths to go to jail,
especially since they don't believe they'll see a dime
of any restitution anyway. It's pretty senseless to
tell victims they'll have to sue in civil court when
everyone knows the Titsworths are broke. The victims
don't want a worthless "I.O.U" from these crooks. They
THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S RESPONSE:
I understand that people are frustrated. Here's the
dilemma I have - with a limited ability to subpoena
people from out of state, I would only have been able
to get 5-10 victims to testify. Even if a dozen
victims attended voluntarily, I probably still wouldn't
have had enough victims to get above $20K. Below $20K,
it's what's called a state jail felony, while above
$20K (up to $100K), it's a third degree felony. State
jail felonies are punishable by 180-730 days in jail,
while third degree felonies are punishable by up to 10
years in prison. They're pleading to a third degree
felony probation. If I had taken it to trial, I may or
may not have been able to prove up the state jail
felony level. If I did, they would almost certainly
have gotten probation anyway, since they are
non-violent offenders and the prisons in Texas are more
or less totally full. Even had I won, only the victims
that came and testified would have gotten restitution.
I may have had trouble proving up even the state jail
felony. Essentially, I would have about a dozen victims
saying that they sent the manuscripts in and that the
Titsworths farmed them out for publication
unsuccessfully and lied in various different ways. I
would have had an expert testify that the Titsworths
did not live up to the standards of literary agents.
However, the defense would undoubtedly have argued that
being bad at your job isn't a crime and that the
Titsworths were just bad at their job. He'd try to
explain their lies as simply encouraging the authors.
The key to making a publishing fraud case is the sheer
volume of victims. I would have had a lot of trouble
getting enough victims here to make the case.
Indisputably, the best place for this case was federal
court, where they could have easily proven wire fraud
and sent the Titsworths up for a long time. However,
the feds twice refused the case. I encourage you to
write the United States Attorney for an explanation of
why his office declined prosecution.
Well, readers, I'm not buying it. There's a tremendous difference between incompetence and what the Titsworths were doing and I believe even just one victim could easily convince the jury of that.
And, let's put this "deal" into perspective. Martha Stewart just lied to investigators. She got 5 months in prison. The Titsworths, who are alleged to have 500 VICTIMS, are going to walk.
VICTIMS, IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THIS "PLEA DEAL" OR WOULD OTHERWISE LIKE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW THIS CASE HAS BEEN HANDLED, CONTACT:
Marshall Wilde - email@example.com
Tom Green County District Attorney's Office
IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THE PLEA DEAL AND WANT TO LET THE JUDGE KNOW ABOUT IT (OR LET HIM KNOW YOU WERE NEVER CONSULTED ABOUT ANY PLEA), CONTACT HIM DIRECTLY AT:
51st District Judge Walther
112 West Beauregard
San Angelo, Texas 76903
Note: There are four District Court Judges and any one of them may hear the case. The Victim/Witness Coordinator suggested sending letters to the judge above. They will reach their correct destination. I recommend sending copies of your letters to Molly J. Thurman, the Victim/Witness Coordinator. Her contact info. is below.
IF YOU HAVEN'T YET CONTACTED THE VICTIM/WITNESS OFFICE TO CLAIM YOUR PORTION OF THE "RESTITUTION" AND RETURN OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT:
Molly J. Thurman - firstname.lastname@example.org
51st & 119th District Attorney
124 West Beauregard Street
San Angelo, Texas 76903
TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE FEDS REJECTING THIS CASE:
US Attorney for the Northern District of Texas
Lubbock Branch Office at 1205 Texas Avenue, Suite 700
George M. Mahon Federal Building
Lubbock, Texas 79401-4002
AND, FINALLY, HERE ARE SOME LETTERS WE RECEIVED FROM VICTIMS AFTER LAST WEEK'S ANNOUNCEMENT:
From: Patricia T.
Sun, 9 Oct 2005
I was not contacted about any kind of deal with Janet
Kay. We have been cheated.
From: Norma C.
Mon, 3 Oct 2005
Thank you, Angela. I also told the attorneys office of
my disappointment in their not going to jail and the
small fine. I don't know about the rest of the victims
but I was never informed of a court date. What they
did was a horrid game with people that they knew were
vulnerable and besides that, he used God!!! He told me
he was a, and I quote this, "Born again, praise God,
halleluiah, Christian Jew." I kid you not. He said the
reason he was not a member of the writers guild was
because of his stand against gay people. And, yes, I
was dumb enough to believe that! Now, I could have
cared less about that or his being a Christian Jew, its
just that he thought it would win me over. He said he
was completely paralyzed at one point due to, I forgot
what, and later Janet said he had a heart attack so she
had taken over the business for awhile. These people
are habitual liars!! Well, what goes around comes
around. They will lose everything some day; I have no
doubt about that at all. You are appreciated so much!
From: Rita M.
Tue Oct 11, 2005
I saw the DA's note on how busy they are with numerous
cases to deal with, and to be patient and wait to hear
from them, unless anything has happened or changed with
I am a victim of Janet Kay and Associates.
In my restitution letter, they were going to subpoena
me - but unfortunately I am on the other side of the
world. Had I been living in or near Texas, or USA, I
would have made my way to attend all hearings. My
writing career was ruined by her and her lovely
husband. I originally started full of strength and
determination to get my book published - and even if it
was not of a publishable standard, honesty would have
helped me, even if it did hurt! I was filled with
strength and determination to continue on and succeed.
After the Janet Kay and Associates experience, I
haven't got it anymore! Plus, I don't believe anyone!
I'm soooo burnt out I feel dead.
Spiritually, I went to her firm because of
Christianity. I admit, I followed what I believed was
God, only to be confronted by Satan himself, and the
pain he has caused me.
As an unpublished writer, I feel I have been severely
mocked by Janet Kay and Associates. They killed me and
My dealings went on for a year . . . I even sent her
TO READ MORE ABOUT JANET KAY & ASSOCIATES, AND MORE COMPLAINTS FROM VICTIMS, see:
http://www.writersweekly.com/whispers_a ... etkay.html
http://www.suite101.com/mydiscussion.cf ... ker/7831#4
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthr ... associates
This alert may be reprinted/redistributed freely. - Angela Hoy, WritersWeekly.com