Publisher claimed to be Trump advisor and have cancer to swindle authors, feds say

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Christine Favara Anderson’s lies were limitless, according to federal prosecutors.

From $60 million in MGM stock and Stage 4 cancer to working for Donald Trump and befriending Morgan Freeman, prosecutors said the 51-year-old book publisher in Virginia would say just about anything to duck royalty payments or pretend to afford an expensive real estate listing.

Now Anderson — who is accused of lying to investigators and concealing records — is in jail facing charges of wire and mail fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Officer for the Western District of Virginia.

Anderson lived in Reva, Virginia, about 80 miles outside of Washington, D.C., and ran two publishing companies known as Christine F. Anderson Publishing and Media, and Sage Wisdom, prosecutors said. Court filings show prosecutors charged her in a criminal complaint in April, and a grand jury indicted her on Wednesday.

She’s been in jail since her arrest on April 27 after a judge determined “no condition or combination of conditions” would ensure she returned to court.

Public defenders appointed to represent Anderson did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment on Thursday.

‘Busy working with the White House’

Anderson is accused of orchestrating two separate frauds, the first of which reportedly started after she published a book about living with bipolar disorder in 2013.

An FBI agent who helped investigate Anderson said in an affidavit that Anderson represented at least eight authors from 2014 to 2020 through her publishing companies. In several instances, she’s accused of taking the authors’ money up front to publish and market their books in exchange for a portion of the royalty fees later.

But the agent said her authors never received their royalty payments.

Anderson’s excuses ran the gamut from dealing with her cancer treatments to sending the money on a private plane that was held up by a “wheel issue” and fog at the airport, according to the affidavit.

One of the authors, a 74-year-old woman from Texas and self-proclaimed “afterlife expert” who has reportedly given Anderson close to $1 million, still believes she stands to inherit a substantial sum of money from Anderson after her imminent death, court filings state. The woman, identified only as R.G., has reportedly communicated with authors and real estate agents on Anderson’s behalf.

At one point, the FBI agent said R.G. told an author seeking royalty checks that Anderson was “busy working with the White House on the State of the Union and that Morgan Freeman was spending time with his ‘friend,’” meaning Anderson.

Beginning in 2019, Anderson reportedly shifted her attention to several expensive real estate properties in Virginia and Costa Rica. The offer prices ranged from $1.8 million to $5.5 million.

Anderson is accused of doctoring “proof of fund” letters from Goldman Sachs and Chase Bank to show agents she had millions sitting in bank accounts as well as $60 million in MGM stock tied up with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

She reportedly invented a myriad of lies to cover for unpaid deposits or checks that bounced, including being depressed about 9/11.

The FBI agent said one attorney described Anderson’s stories as becoming “more and more outrageous” — including “claiming she was an advisor to President Trump, flying in a private jet, being grief-stricken over the death of her friend Kobe Bryant, and having Stage 4 cancer.”

Bankruptcy and criminal history

Anderson filed for bankruptcy last year, claiming assets that totaled $14,554 and $234,735 in liabilities, according to the affidavit.

One of the sellers from whom she tried to buy property saw the filing and reported the vast discrepancies in her reported financial holdings to the court, after which Anderson is accused of sending a “blistering email” that started with “how dare all of you” and included several claims about her failing health.

She filed a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy shortly thereafter, which a judge granted.

Anderson has since tried to file a claim with the local sheriff’s office alleging she had her identity stolen and that someone else has been running up her accounts since May 2020, the FBI agent said. She reportedly tried to blame it on R.G.’s daughter, who allegedly reported Anderson to the authorities in Texas.

Investigators searched Anderson’s house in April and found her printing checks to pay for new real estate, according to the indictment. She’s accused of trying to hide the checks, which agents later found on her person.

Anderson has faced criminal and civil lawsuits related to securities fraud charges in two states since 2005. She served a five-year prison sentence and was also the subject of an SEC complaint. Anderson was also reportedly ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and restitution.

“To date, I believe that Anderson has not paid a substantial amount of either judgment,” the FBI agent said.

Anderson was charged Wednesday with eight counts of wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud, one count of making a false statement and one count of concealing records in a federal investigation, prosecutors said.

Anyone who believes they may be a victim or who has knowledge about the allegations against Anderson can call the FBI in Charlottesville, Virginia, at 434-293-9663.

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