Novelist's fake "investment" character steals millions from his girlfriends

"That was the trouble with trying 
to deceive a girl, he thought. 
It doesn't always work out 
the way a fellow expects."
- A quote from the novel The Fifth Ring by Mitchell Gross, writing under the pen name Mitchell Graham.
A writer of fantasy novels named Mitchell Gross went looking for a relationship through an online dating service. He told the women he met that he was a successful novelist with a possible option on one of his novels by Stephen Spielberg and had made lots of money investing with an investment guru named Michael Johnson.

He was telling the truth about being a novelist.

The problem was, Michael Johnson was actually the fantasy and legal thriller novelist and disbarred attorney Mitchell Gross.

When the women thought they were speaking to the stockbroker Michael Johnson, who they never met in person, they were actually talking to Mr. Gross, who would disguise his voice when he spoke to them on the phone.

"Mr. Johnson" told them he worked for a business called "The Merrill Company." He sent them realistic-looking account statements detailing how well their money was doing.

One woman invested almost three million dollars.

Authorities said he drained one woman's account to pay a previous victim/girlfriend, in a kind of romantic Ponzi scheme.

When he was arrested, Mr. Gross claimed he had only a couple thousand dollars left in his accounts.

- Fiction writer charged with multimillion-dollar scam, USA Today>>
- Author 'duped two women out of $4.4million after meeting them on Jewish dating site' Mail Online>>
- Marietta Author Charged in Dating Scam, Marietta Patch>>

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