Ever hear of Northwest Publishing?

"Unfortunately, a handful of subsidy publishers go a step farther, and take authors' money without delivering even that "hunk of pages." One such publisher is Northwest Publishing of Utah, founded in 1992 by James van Treese. Treese worked through a network of literary agents, who received kickbacks for referring their clients to Northwest. The company claimed to be selective in the manuscripts it chose for publication, but in reality, any author willing to pay the price could be published.

The scam lay in the fact that the books were never actually published. While a handful would be printed to send to the author, the author was told that the rest were "warehoused", when in fact they were never printed at all. According to charges brought against Van Treese, much of the authors' money was actually gambled away in Las Vegas. In 1997, Van Treese and his son were charged with 22 second-degree counts of communications fraud, securities fraud, tax evasion and racketeering."