Fight Club author left with 'no reserves to write the next book' after fraud

Fight Club author left with 'no reserves to write the next book' after fraud

Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk has said he may be forced to sell his house in order to stay afloat after an accountant at his literary agency was arrested for embezzling $3.4m (£2.5m) from the company.

Darin Webb, an accountant at Donadio & Olson in New York, was charged on 15th May accused of “cooking the firm’s books to conceal a multimillion-dollar embezzlement” according to a release issued by the US Attorney’s Office. He has worked in the Manhattan agency since 2001 and his alleged fraudulent behavior dates back to January 2011, according to the Department of Justice document.

The 47-year-old bookkeeper Webb is charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offence.

Palahniuk previously revealed he was “close to broke” because of the situation.

Now, speaking to the Guardian, Palahniuk has said that depending on the terms of his next book deal and on how much money is recovered in a settlement, he may have to sell his house to stay afloat.

"It’s looking like my payment for at least my last two – perhaps four – books has been taken, and so that leaves me with no reserves to write the next book,” he said. “Money seems to have been taken over such a long period that they haven’t even established yet how much was taken, and from what accounts.”

He went on to reveal that Webb would lie telling him the publisher hadn’t paid the funds, or that he was distracted with caring for his ill mother. The situation means he may have to sell his house to stay afloat financially, the author said. 

Discussing the embezzlement, Palahniuk referenced the recent death of his father-in-law and said that "there are larger issues in life", and that "it's kind of nice" as he will have to be "thrown back into writing".

“Writing was initially my way of saving money, because if you’re writing, you’re not spending. So it throws me back into writing," he said.

The author has sold 605,197 copies for £4.3m in the UK, according to Nielsen BookScan, with Fight Club (Vintage) his bestseller at 129,246 copies sold out of his nine published novels. It was adapted into a film starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in 1999.

Palahniuk is published by Vintage in the UK and his latest title Adjustment Day was published this month.