A preliminary hearing date for the father and son owners of a former Mustang publishing company has been reset to November.
Richard and Ryan Tate, who owned Tate Publishing, are accused of bilking thousands of authors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and refusing to return their original materials.
The Tates are charged in Canadian County District Court with four felony counts of embezzlement, one felony count of attempted extortion by threat, two felony counts of extortion by threat, one felony count of racketeering and one misdemeanor count of embezzlement.
A preliminary hearing had been set for Wednesday. However, it was continued by Special Judge Jack McCurdy until Nov. 7. The hearing is expected to take at least two days.
Terri Watkins, a spokesperson for the state attorney general’s office, said there are more than 2,100 victims who have been identified and that more cases are continuing to be reported.
The Tates were charged in May 2017 after announcing plans to reopen their publishing and music publishing business after having closed earlier in the year.
At that time, the company owed millions to Xerox and Tennessee-based Lightning Source after a judge entered summary judgments against the company.
Lightning Source sued in January in the Western District of the U.S. District Court seeking repayment of money it said it had given to Tate Publishing in June 2016.
The lawsuit claimed the money was for the exclusive distribution and printing for at least 5.5 million books during the following five years.
A federal judge approved a default judgment in favor of Lightning Source for more than $2 million.Xerox was granted an award by a Canadian County district judge in March after Ryan Tate failed to respond to various motions.
The judgment authorizes Xerox to collect $1,446,070.67 from Tate Publishing and $450,308.18 from Ryan Tate.
“Securing the finest legal counsel made it possible for us to put a plan in place to resolve all the issues we were facing… in a proper and ethical manner,” Ryan Tate wrote in the email sent to clients. “Finally, we established a plan for reorganization in order to reinstate full publishing, distribution, and marking operations immediately.”
The attorney general said the email that announced it was resuming operations was what prompted the charges.
Watkins said more than 2,100 complaints have been filed against the Tates and their business.
Those complaints range from failure to deliver products and services that had been previously paid for, failure to pay royalty earnings per contractual agreement and refusal to return files unless the customer agreed to pay a $50 processing fee.
During the investigation, agents allegedly found that money was deposited into corporate accounts then transferred into Richard and Ryan Tate’s personal bank accounts.
The Tates have pleaded not guilty and are free on bail.