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Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Be An Author

Literary agent jailed for cheating would-be authors out of thousands

Robin Price gets six years for spinning his own tall tales to his clients about Hollywood contacts

by Steven Morris and agencies


'Rango' Premiere - Los Angeles Johnny Depp, one of the stars that conman Robin Price claimed he knew.

A literary agent who duped budding authors and investors into handing over more than £500,000 for non-existent film and book deals has been jailed for six years. Robin Price, a former cinema manager from north Devon, claimed he had contacts in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Johnny Depp.

Judge John Neligan told Price, who admitted six counts of theft: "You lived a Walter Mitty lifestyle to persuade decent folk to part with a lot of money on your wild and extravagant schemes which were bogus from the start. I am satisfied that this was fraud from the outset which became more serious and more intricate, to deceive people outlandishly as time went on."

Prosecuting, Andrew Oldland told Exeter crown court that Price, 51, was a confidence trickster: "He targeted would-be writers who wanted their works to be converted into film and TV programmes, or would-be investors interested in putting money into film projects."

But he said Price, of Ilfracombe, lied about his background and his career in the film industry and literary world. "He maintained he knew well-known names in the film industry both on the production and direction side and acting side in the US and UK. He would drop big names such as Spielberg and Scorsese and actors like Sam Neill and Tom Cruise and many others."

But Price, who used to work at a cinema in Leicester Square, central London, grossly exaggerated the extent of his contacts and claimed to his victims that he was on the verge of signing multimillion-dollar production deals.