Help Us Win Against Plagiarism

$14,820 of $25k goal

Raised by 537 people in 25 months
Rachel Ann Nunes  OREM, UT

Together We Can Send The Message That Stealing Is Not Okay! And Harassment is a Crime.

She Stole From Me


This past August I learned that an anonymous author on the Internet, who was known only by a logo and a fake name, had plagiarized my novel, A Bid for Love (formerly entitled Love to the Highest Bidder, copyright 1998). Sam Taylor Mullens published “her” book on Amazon and sent it out to multiple reviewers, some of whom had read my novel. When confronted about the obvious similarities, “Sam” lied and said she had collaborated with me.

Here Is Undeniable Proof She Stole My Book
(also see screenshots at the very bottom of this page)

Rachel Ann Nunes 1998 - The dark brown curls were everywhere. They were a curse, and had been for twenty-eight of Cassi’s twenty-nine years. They puffed out from her scalp and plunged halfway down her back as if they had lives of their own, helplessly tangled and twisted together. The bathroom lights above the double sink reflected from the brown tresses, bringing out the subtle gold highlights.

 Sam Taylor Mullens, The Auction Deal 2014 - Dark brunette curls were everywhere. They were a curse, and had been for the thirty-one years of my life. They puffed out from my scalp and plunged halfway down my back. They helplessly tangled and twisted together. The bathroom lights above the sink reflected the brown tresses.

Reviewers Confirm The Plagiarism

As the rights to the book have returned to me, and I indie-published the current version, it is up to me to make sure my copyright is protected.

I contacted first “Sam” for an explanation and then some of reviewers.

Six of eight reviewers confirmed the plagiarism (some of their names have been redacted for their protection):




Two Reviewers Later Identified As Aliases Of The Plagiarist  Threaten Me And Berate My Work
 
Mercedes and Other Aliases Post Harassing Comments on Facebook
 


The Plagiarists Denies Everything

“Sam” did respond to my email but said she had no idea how the novels became so similar. She refused to give me a copy of “her” book because it contained sex. She also pulled the book and her other published novels from Amazon.

She Pretends To Be A “Friend” Of The Plagiarist

Then writing to me under the name Tiffanie Rushton, the plagiarist emailed me saying she was a real life friend of “Sam” and that a man, who later died, had given “Sam” the manuscript and told her it was no longer in print. In the email, Tiffanie also praised “Sam,” saying that she was a community leader who has a disabled son.

One-Star Reviews of My Book Under Plagiarist's Aliases Shows Intent To Plagiarize

But we found 5 one-star reviews on my stolen book under her different aliases, all dated two months before “her” book was published on Amazon, so it was clear she knew she was plagiarizing. (Emma's last name redacted because it turned about to be a real name used without permission by the plagiarist—more on that below.)

Goodreads:

Tiffanie Rushton's Amazon review page:

Plagiarist Lies About My Family

Around the same time, “Sam” emailed reviewers, claiming to be my niece and that she had permission to use my story because she’d given me the idea, but she couldn’t tell me who she was because her family didn’t know she wrote about sex and she would get kicked out of her church and lose her husband. Meghen from Thirty Second Book Reviews send me this copy.


As you guessed, “Sam” and I are not related. To my knowledge we haven’t even met. Kira is my real niece.
So I went public in order to discover her identity, and when I did the harassment increased. Numerous one-star reviews appeared on my novels under my real and pen names (see the screenshots for these below my post).

Plagiarist Uses False Identities, To Harass Reviewers Who Speak Against Her

(Last name has been redacted because the name came from a real person.)

Plagiarist Identified as Tiffanie Rushton, a Third-Grade Teacher from Layton, Utah

Volunteer investigators came forward and tracked "Sam" down and discovered her identity, but copyright is a civil not criminal case and it is horrendously expensive to prosecute. Making her stop stealing and harassing me seemed impossible. Then New York Times bestselling author David Farland recommended starting a Go Fund Me account.

I File Complaint In Federal Court—Harassment Continues

Yet even after filing a complaint in federal court,  the harassment continued. Posts on Facebook, public and private. Posts here on the Go Fund Me, saying it was a scam—all by Rushton’s known aliases. (Name of first redacted because, again, it was from a real person.)



The account below changed from Jennifer Booklover to Jennifer Greer and then was deleted by Facebook.


Rushton also accepted responsibility for the one-star reviews under this alias (part of real person's stolen name redacted).

Every day I was doing something to protect myself, taking screenshots, communicating with attorneys, deleting posts, asking Amazon to take down her reviews, trying to find books to put into fundraising sets, etc. Even when I had a slice of time, working was impossible because of the emotional upheaval. I felt terror every time I turn on my computer for fear of what I would find next.

But That's NOT All—She Stole From A Combat Veteran

Then, shockingly, we discovered that in her first book, she’d also plagiarized the REAL LIFE story of Chase Weston, a disabled veteran who served in Iraq in 2005 with the 3rd Infantry Division. His wife Lilah writes:

“The story that Sam Taylor Mullens/ Tiffanie Rushton copied was an account of one of the worst days of Chase’s life. The original draft of Terror in a Cloud of Dust was written by Chase during a trauma workshop at ‘Pathway Home,’ which is a residential rehabilitation program for returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans who suffer from clinically diagnosed and progressive PTSD. It took a lot for Chase to put his story down on paper, he did however want to heal from the events and felt that he might help some of the other Soldiers who were trying to do the same . . . My husband feels this to be a personal attack on his character, his service, and to the Military—every soldier and family member affected by these events.”

Rushton Vows To Republish Hasty Resolutions


But there is still even more to the story . . .

She Stole From Children

 A few bloggers posted a list of 20+ fake IDs that we believed Rushton had created, and a parent identified them as the REAL NAMES of her daughter and the other children in Rushton’s last year’s 3rd grade class!

They compared the yearbook and, sure enough, twelve full and partial names of real children (mostly full names) had been stolen to review Rushton’s novels and other explicit books.

That's why I redacted Abby, Emma's, Gibson's, and Aubrey's last names above. They are REAL CHILDREN, as is Hannah from the Goodreads one-star reviews. At least one parent said Rushton had also use the children’s email addresses to create the accounts (see below).

A parent reported that school officials removed Rushton from the classroom and promised that she would not teach again in Davis County School District.

She Posed As A Parent Of The Children Whose Names She Stole

Days later, Rushton posted on my blog and others, pretending to be a parent of one of the children and asking that all the blogs be removed. But the IP address showed the email came from Rushton’s computer. Parents confirmed to me that they did not write the post and that the comments didn’t represent their feelings.
 
(Another fake parent review under the alias"K" was also posted on Mr. Doppler's site, coming again from Rushton's computer.)

These were fake parent comments posted on my site shortly before and after midnight just prior to the comments on the above John Doppler blog:


 Then A Slap In The Face

The school district came out with a statement that Rushton left due to KNEE SURGERY.

The betrayal I feel that they could cover this up to is so vast, I can’t even write it. It makes me wonder if anyone cares what this woman is doing.

She Stole. She used children. She used deception and cunning to cover it up. She refuses to take responsibility.

I believe in redemption. I believe in forgiveness, but I don’t believe that I have to give this woman my work or let her attack me. She has turned my life upside down. She tried to discredit and hurt me.  I feel as if she's broken into my home and stolen something very dear to me.

I lost nearly six months of my life where I wasn't able to get back to work. THAT'S RIGHT. NO WRITING. Which means she's stolen far more than just one book from me.  I still have trouble sleeping and concentrating. I suffer panic attacks. The biggest devastation is how my children have suffered while watching me go through this. In a very real way she robbed my family of something vital.

My Plan To Get My Life Back And Protect Others

This is a new breed of plagiarist. They believe they can get away with victimizing authors who don’t have large publishers or who have yet to become world-wide sensations. The truth is that all authors are at risk, and this is becoming a huge problem because they wait until the dust settles and republish the books.  I want to Rushton and other plagiarists like her to know that they can be prosecuted and held accountable.

The only way I have of ending this is going before a judge and jury to show them the evidence. Veteran Chase Weston and others involved have  agreed to offer any support they can, and we have drawn a line in the sand.

No One Can Stop Her Alone

A jury trial is horribly expensive, BUT Shawn P. Bailey of Peck, Hadfield, Bexter, and Moore has agreed to work on my case for an affordable rate. As a fellow author, he hates what has happened to me. Even after a successful lawsuit, recovering costs from those committing fraud, is next to impossible, but the court will MAKE HER STOP.

Please Help Me Stop This Madness 

I am SO GRATEFUL for the donations so far. There is no way I could have come up with estimated 130,000-250,000 for a typical jury trial, but thanks to Shawn and the support from the community, this will happen! We are going to send a message to all would-be plagiarists that plagarism is nothing more than stealing,  and SUCH BEHAVIOR IS  NOT OKAY.

Please consider donating what you can, perhaps on a monthly basis until the trial. At the very least, if you can’t donate, please email your friends or spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, and other means. You can do that right now by using the share buttons. Thank you!


Thank you for listening,

Rachel Ann Nunes
(and family)

P.S. For a thank you, you can choose an award level of an ebook, or just a cyber hug! I will send all award levels within a week. I also send a note to everyone who donates. Please contact me if you don’t hear from me. Some email servers will reject email from Go Fund Me. If you choose something that I have to mail to you, please include your street address.

Rushton's stolen book on sale:

Reviews of my books from Rushton's Amazon account:


The same account at the same URL as above after the reviews were deleted by Amazon (note the brief change to the Jennifer Greer name, the same Jennifer who bashed me as a fake reviewer, on Facebook, and who gave me a one-star review on Goodreads back in May):

Reviews of my books from one of Rushton's aliases:

Comments from the Thirty Second Review blog as Rushton defends herself with aliases Mercedes and Abby:

Comparison. The only way she could have come up with "her" novel is to have started with mine.


And so it goes on throughout the entire book . . .

A Bid for Love, my book that was plagiarized:

+ Read More
Update 29
1 month ago

2
2
As I mentioned in my last update, we are in the process of expert discovery. Expert witnesses review the evidence before the Court and express an opinion about that evidence from the perspective of science or a particular art, discipline, or industry.

We have disclosed four expert witnesses for my case. The defendant has not disclosed any.

This means that, at trial, Rushton will have no expert witnesses testifying on her behalf who could attempt to undermine our experts’ opinions or offer an alternative viewpoint from a technical standpoint.

Our witnesses will be deposed by the defendant’s counsel before the end of the month when expert discovery ends. Once these depositions are finished, we will move on to the next stage as we progress to trial.

To read more about our expert witnesses and my feelings about the case, you can read my longer update on my blog: http://rachelannnunes.blogspot.com/2016/08/surprising-development-as-expert.html

Again, thank you for the continuing support. It’s an incredible gift to have Shawn Bailey in my corner, and that wouldn’t be possible without your help.
+ Read More
Update 28
3 months ago

Joy Lanzendorfer, a journalist with The Atlantic, has written "The Rise of Plagiarism," where she talks about this case and what happened to a few other authors. You can find the article here: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/06/plagiarism-in-the-age-of-self-publishing/485525/

And thank you so much for the kind comments, words, and donations this past week! I really appreciate you all.
+ Read More
Update 27
3 months ago

We’ve begun to delve into expert witness disclosures and discovery, and I’ve learned a little about the process. Experts are given access to all of the data they will be testifying about. After in-depth study, they present their findings to the attorney who hired them, who then shares the findings with the opposing side. Both sides can hire experts to testify on the same subject. Expert witnesses can donate their time, but usually the cost for each in a case like this runs between 5,000 and 10,000 dollars or more. As you can imagine, we are doing everything we can to keep costs as low as possible, and our experts are wonderful. I feel grateful to them for their time. I know they have worked long and hard to present fair and accurate conclusions.

Incidentally, after my last update, several unkind comments were posted here, which I only saw on the day discovery closed. These comments were made through what appears to be a fake Facebook account using a stock photo as a profile image. I deleted the comments, of course, but asked GoFundMe to send them in a document I could give my attorney. Because the comments appeared at the close of discovery, the court refused to let us investigate them through a subpoena.

I want you to know how much I appreciate the kind comments and the strength you give me. As you can see, I need that strength more often than you might think! I’ll update again soon. Have a wonderful day.
+ Read More
Update 26
5 months ago

3
3
Just returned home from another deposition in Salt Lake City today. Hours of preparation and questions, which were tedious and repetitive more than anything, but hopefully it's one more step toward resolution. The original hope for an August trial (two years after learning about the infringement) is no longer going to happen, but discovery DOES end this month. Next up will be testimony and examination of expert witnesses. I’ll will update when I have news.

Thank you again for your very kind words of encouragement and continued support. I really don’t know what I would have done without it, and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to fight this copyright infringement without help.

A huge thanks goes to my attorney, Shawn P. Bailey for his research, dedication, and know-how. He has spent numerous hours working on this case above and beyond any call. All funds earned here and elsewhere have gone and will continue to go directly toward the expenses.

Thanks again for standing up and saying “THIS MUST STOP.”
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update
Help spread the word!
 2.7K total shares
Lois Decker Brown
9 months ago
1
1

Rachel, have you looked into this organization? They have funds for situations like these. http://www.sfwa.org/about/who-we-are/

+ Read More
Jason Crawford
21 months ago
1
1

I put this on my blog and shared to Twitter and Facebook. I'll also be making a small donation. I wish I could do more. Good luck, Rachel!

+ Read More
Tim Schulte
22 months ago
1
1

Supporting my old friend. It has been awhile.

+ Read More
James Pettis
22 months ago
1
1

Use one of the best and most downloaded application to search for plagiarism: http://nbridge.net/plagiarism-finder-extended/ . This version developed especially for writers and publicists.

+ Read More
Marvin Payne
23 months ago
1
1

Rachel, I only read theology and P. G. Wodehouse (and both checking accounts are currently in the red) but I want to go on record as standing against plagiarism. Good luck as you go forward!

+ Read More
Dean Meservy
24 months ago
1
1

Our daughters grew up on your books, and you were kind enough to respond personally to their fan letters. You have our support.

+ Read More
Susan Arscott
24 months ago
1
1

Plagiarism of any size or shape is stealing and I'm sorry you're work has been stolen.

+ Read More
Leah Cannon-Nixon
25 months ago
1
1

Go get her, Madam! Plagiarism should never be tolerated and I hope that when the cards fall that justice prevails in your favour!

+ Read More
Stephen Frey
25 months ago
1
1

From one author to another I'm in full support of you. While I subscribe to the belief that there is only so much originality to go around and eventually somebody is going to step on already-tredded ground, there is no excuse for bullying and ridicule.

+ Read More
Loralee Evans
25 months ago
1
1

For you, and for all ethical, honest authors everywhere, I hope this can get resolved soon, Rachel, and that this plagiarist can face justice and pay for what she's done. Not just the plagiarism itself, but for every other unethical, and hurtful thing she's done to you and others. I hope, for her sake that she learns not to do this sort of thing any more. And I hope it serves as a deterrent to other would-be plagiarists.

+ Read More
David Mulholland
25 months ago
1
1

Looking forward to the book deals. Sharing this as much as I possibly can as this kind of behavior and cowardice angers me. I hope that dealing with it publicly once will serve as a warning and discourage others from doing the same!

+ Read More
Kathryn Beach
25 months ago
1
1

I really really wish you the best and I hope you find this chick and get her to stop. I wish I had the skills to be a writer I always thought it would be amazing but I would never ever stoop to stealing someone elses work. I just do not get people today!

+ Read More
Betsy Love Lds Author
25 months ago

Rachel, I have been following this and have been praying for you. What this person did is not only unethical and illegal, but is an insult to ALL authors!!! Every single one of them who struggle to write. I hope that you find justice and that this sets a precedent for all other plagiarists! HUGS!!!

+ Read More
Mikey Brooks
25 months ago

I hope that justice comes to this unknown plagiarist. Not just to help you but all the others they would continue to hurt.

+ Read More
Candace Bowen
25 months ago

You have my full support, Rachel. Stay strong.

+ Read More

$14,820 of $25k goal

Raised by 537 people in 25 months
Created August 9, 2014
$5
Anonymous
1 day ago
$10
Anonymous
15 days ago
$10
Anonymous
22 days ago (Monthly Donation)
$10
Anonymous
1 month ago
DV
$400
David VanDyke
1 month ago
KM
$25
Karen McQuestion
1 month ago
$10
Anonymous
1 month ago
$25
Norma Mitchell
1 month ago

Hug please :)

$25
Cheri Schmidt
1 month ago

:)

$12
Louise Pledge
1 month ago
Lois Decker Brown
9 months ago
1
1

Rachel, have you looked into this organization? They have funds for situations like these. http://www.sfwa.org/about/who-we-are/

+ Read More
Jason Crawford
21 months ago
1
1

I put this on my blog and shared to Twitter and Facebook. I'll also be making a small donation. I wish I could do more. Good luck, Rachel!

+ Read More
Tim Schulte
22 months ago
1
1

Supporting my old friend. It has been awhile.

+ Read More
James Pettis
22 months ago
1
1

Use one of the best and most downloaded application to search for plagiarism: http://nbridge.net/plagiarism-finder-extended/ . This version developed especially for writers and publicists.

+ Read More
Marvin Payne
23 months ago
1
1

Rachel, I only read theology and P. G. Wodehouse (and both checking accounts are currently in the red) but I want to go on record as standing against plagiarism. Good luck as you go forward!

+ Read More
Dean Meservy
24 months ago
1
1

Our daughters grew up on your books, and you were kind enough to respond personally to their fan letters. You have our support.

+ Read More
Susan Arscott
24 months ago
1
1

Plagiarism of any size or shape is stealing and I'm sorry you're work has been stolen.

+ Read More
Leah Cannon-Nixon
25 months ago
1
1

Go get her, Madam! Plagiarism should never be tolerated and I hope that when the cards fall that justice prevails in your favour!

+ Read More
Stephen Frey
25 months ago
1
1

From one author to another I'm in full support of you. While I subscribe to the belief that there is only so much originality to go around and eventually somebody is going to step on already-tredded ground, there is no excuse for bullying and ridicule.

+ Read More
Loralee Evans
25 months ago
1
1

For you, and for all ethical, honest authors everywhere, I hope this can get resolved soon, Rachel, and that this plagiarist can face justice and pay for what she's done. Not just the plagiarism itself, but for every other unethical, and hurtful thing she's done to you and others. I hope, for her sake that she learns not to do this sort of thing any more. And I hope it serves as a deterrent to other would-be plagiarists.

+ Read More
David Mulholland
25 months ago
1
1

Looking forward to the book deals. Sharing this as much as I possibly can as this kind of behavior and cowardice angers me. I hope that dealing with it publicly once will serve as a warning and discourage others from doing the same!

+ Read More
Kathryn Beach
25 months ago
1
1

I really really wish you the best and I hope you find this chick and get her to stop. I wish I had the skills to be a writer I always thought it would be amazing but I would never ever stoop to stealing someone elses work. I just do not get people today!

+ Read More
Betsy Love Lds Author
25 months ago

Rachel, I have been following this and have been praying for you. What this person did is not only unethical and illegal, but is an insult to ALL authors!!! Every single one of them who struggle to write. I hope that you find justice and that this sets a precedent for all other plagiarists! HUGS!!!

+ Read More
Mikey Brooks
25 months ago

I hope that justice comes to this unknown plagiarist. Not just to help you but all the others they would continue to hurt.

+ Read More
Candace Bowen
25 months ago

You have my full support, Rachel. Stay strong.

+ Read More
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