Australian magazine publishers should be careful about who they do
their behind-the-scenes circulation-rigging deals with, after they read
about the latest circulation cooking-the-books charges from the US:

The publisher of an IT magazine has been arrested following a police
investigation of circulation figures, reports the Smart Office News newsletter.

“Police in the US have charged the publisher and director of
circulation of Laptop magazine Edward D. Brown, and John Jay Annis, the
director of circulation, with scheming to fraudulently boost the
circulation of the publication by hiring a distributor to accept 15,000
copies that Laptop magazine would claim as paid circulation regardless
if they were delivered anywhere,” says the newsletter.

“According to court documents, the director of Laptop magazine cut a
deal this year with a man who said he was the financial backer of a new
distribution company. The financial backer, however, was actually an
undercover investigator for the Inspector General of the Port Authority
of New York and New Jersey. His meetings with the Bedford executives
were part of a sting.”

It turns out that the investigator, Scott Briggs, was part of “an
investigation into fraudulent practices of reporting circulation within
the newspaper and magazine industry,” and he has described a
tape-recorded meeting in which Brown “suggested that the distributor
did not need to actually deliver Laptop to public places as long as it
provided paperwork that would satisfy the Audit Bureau of Circulations.”

Read more about the sting here.

CRIKEY: Stings and undercover agents … they’re sure getting serious
about circulation fraud in the US. Meanwhile back in Australia the
Audit Bureau of Circulations insists nothing like this ever happens
here. Sure, of course, no question.