About a month ago, an anonymous romance writer — or at least she was anonymously interviewed, but apparently other romance authors sussed her out — claimed that the government came in and seized her computers and work under the guise of the Patriot Act, ostensibly because of the research she was doing
(From Necessary Dissent, which posted this from an article in the Romance Writers Of America trade magazine):
SB: What type of story were you researching?
Dilyn: Mainstream women’s fiction adventure. It was set in (Cambodia, all about the theft of antiquities. In my research I learned, about the atrocities that still go on there even today, much of it coming from one the Al Qaeda-linked groups. I actually went back though my book and deleted those specific terrorist references after 9/11 and changed the terrorists to a rogue band of thieves because of 9/11 and terrorist sensitivity.
It turns out, this anonymous writer is actually not anonymous at all…and that they seized her computers because, as the Associated Press and FOX News in Indianapolis reports, she was under criminal investigation for something entirely different:
Marion County prosecutors have charged a husband and wife in connection to a social security scam. They’re accused of allegedly bilking the government agency out of nearly $83,000 in unentitled disability benefits.
Police arrested the Dianne Holmes-Despain, 51, and her husband Joel Despain, 43, Tuesday morning. They’re being held at the Marion County Jail.
Prosecutors say an anonymous tip to the social security fraud hotline started the investigation rolling last year. Holmes-Despain is charged with theft, fraud and 14 counts of forgery. She began receiving disability benefits in 1985 when she was determined to be eligable claiming she had rheumatoid arthritis and couldn’t work. However, prosecutors say she was getting disability checks while she continued to teach education classes at IUPUI.
They also say she was writing romance novels and books at the time under different aliases like J.J. Despain and Dianne Drake and getting paid.
Many are books about cheating the system titled "Government Secrets, "Money Secrets" and "Inside Info: The Secrets You Should Know."
Allegedly she used her husband’s social security number to conceal her income. Joel Despain is charged with conspiracy to commit welfare fraud.
"I think they put a substantial amount of effort into keeping this a secret. I mean that seems to be what she was doing. She writes about keeping secrets, she writes about government secrets and publishing secrets and the whole time the biggest secret of all is that she’s not disabled," Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said. In the end the couple collected about $83-thousand dollars over a nine year period. Holmes-Despain could spend as many as 16 years in prison. Her husband could be looking at eight.
Nothing too romantic about that, he interjected tersely.