Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed eight felony charges and one misdemeanor charge on Thursday against Ryan and Richard Tate for alleged fraudulent business practices the two conducted while operating their businesses, Tate Publishing and Tate Music Group.
The charges include 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.
Attorney General Mike Hunter says his office has received more than 800 complaints about Tate Publishing, from authors and musicians who used their services and say the company abandoned them at various stages of publishing. Complaints from customers 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.
Attorney General Mike Hunter applauded the work of the Consumer Protection Unit and the agents who investigated the case that brought charges.
“The means by which Ryan and Richard Tate conducted business to defraud individuals from across the country is unconscionable and a blatant disregard for those who entrusted them to produce their work,” Attorney General Hunter said. “I appreciate the dedication and hard work by the agents and the attorneys in the Consumer Protection Unit, who put this case together.”
Through the course of the investigation, agents discovered that money derived from the sale of publishing books or music were deposited into business checking accounts, then transferred to Ryan or Richard Tate’s personal checking accounts.
This morning, Canadian County Sheriff’s deputies apprehended Richard and Ryan Tate. A Canadian County judge set their bond at $100,000 each and ordered them to surrender their passports.
If convicted of these allegations, each faces prison time and fines. The AG’s office said it plans to seek restitution for victims.