Photograph by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Literary Frauds

  1. Lance Armstrong

    Lance Armstrong

    Lance Armstrong has more than angry former fans and teammates to deal with: Readers of the cyclist's two memoirs, It's Not About the Bike and Every Second Counts, have filed a class action accusing Armstrong and several publishers of fraud and false advertising. Click ahead to see other would-be memoirists whose literary aspirations prompted monetary repercussions.

    Pictured: People walk past graffiti depicting Lance Armstrong in a yellow jersey, the traditional garb of the seven-time Tour De France winner, attached to an IV drip on January 23, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

    Photograph by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
  2. James Frey

    James Frey

    Frey's purported memoir, A Million Little Pieces, embellished and fabricated events that took place during his rehabilitation in a 12-step treatment center. After a confrontational interview with former fan Oprah Winfrey, Frey and publisher Random House reached a legal settlement offering a refund to readers who felt that they had been defrauded by the book.

    Photograph by Toby Madden/eyevine/Redux
  3. Kaavya Viswanathan

    Kaavya Viswanathan

    The high schooler's popular teen book, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, met with critical praise, a $500,000 two-book contract, and a movie deal with Dreamworks—until the Harvard Crimson discovered numerous passages had been lifted from novels by Meg Cabot and Salman Rushdie. Publisher Little, Brown and Company recalled all copies, but Viswanathan still graduated Harvard with honors.

    Photograph by Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times via Redux
  4. Lawrence Pazder

    Lawrence Pazder

    The Canadian psychiatrist's case study-turned-bestseller, Michelle Remembers, was based on a patient's "repressed memories" of ritualistic child abuse by a coven of Satanists. After an interview with Oprah Winfrey sparked a nationwide moral panic, the book's accusations of a global network of Satanists were later debunked as implausible.

    Courtesy Amazon
  5. Herman Rosenblat

    Herman Rosenblat

    A Holocaust survivor imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration camp for seven months, Rosenblat wrote survival memoir Angel at the Fence about meeting and marrying a young girl who had passed him food through the fences of the camp. Described by Oprah Winfrey as "the single greatest love story ever told," the novel was uncovered as a hoax, and Penguin sued Rosenblat for his $30,000 advance.

    Photograph by J. Pat Carter/AP Photo
  6. Margaret Seltzer

    Margaret Seltzer

    Love and Consequences: A Memoir of Hope and Survival was heralded as "deeply affecting" by the New York Times Book Review until it came to light that the memoir of a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up as a member of the Bloods street gang in South Central Los Angeles had actually been written by a white, prep school-educated woman from Sherman Oaks. All copies of the book were recalled, and the publisher offered refunds to defrauded readers.
    Photograph by Susan Seubert/The New York Times via Redux
  7. Daniel Lewis James

    Daniel Lewis James

    Under the pseudonym Danny Santiago, the memoir Famous All Over Town was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for depicting life through the eyes of a young Latino boy growing up in East Los Angeles. Once it was revealed that Santiago's real name was Daniel Lewis James, a white, middle-aged graduate of Andover and Yale, prizes for the memoir were revoked.

    Courtesy Amazon
  8. J.T. LeRoy

    J.T. LeRoy

    Purportedly a transgendered, sexually questioning abuse victim who had struggled with drug abuse and homelessness, the revelation that LeRoy was actually a woman named Laura Albert resulted in a $466,500 lawsuit filed by the film company that had bought the rights to her novel, Sarah.

    Photograph by Rebecca Sapp/WireImage via Getty Images
  9. Michael Pelligrino

    Michael Pelligrino

    As Michael Gambino, fictive grandson of Mafia crime boss Carlo Gambino, Pelligrino detailed the exploits that supposedly led to serving 12 years in prison for bribery, extortion, kidnapping, and murder in his memoir, The Honored Society. Publisher Simon & Schuster sued Pelligrino's management for misrepresentation and demanded the return of his $500,000 advance.

    Courtesy Amazon
  10. Anthony Godby Johnson

    Anthony Godby Johnson

    The heartbreaking memoir, A Rock and a Hard Place: One Boy's Triumphant Story, appeared to be an autobiography describing one young boy's survival of an abusive childhood at the hands of his parents, as well as his escape into foster care, where he discovers he has AIDS. Vicki Johnson, the adoptive mother who "saved" Anthony, was interviewed in shadow by Oprah Winfrey on an Emmy- nominated television special. Several media investigations, including one by 20/20, raised suspicions that Anthony didn't exist and Johnson was the actual author.

    Courtesy Amazon