The culprit? A self-published author. Who claims he’s a lawyer. From Publishers Weekly (“Mystery Bookstores Solve Scam,” by Kevin Howell):
Dickey swallowed the feeling of being duped and launched a warning on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association listserv, saying, “I hate like hell committing my buffoonery to the world-at-large, but if it stops someone else from making my mistake, good. If it can expose the mean-spirited jackasses behind this scam, all the better.”
I like this story, but it would be even better if it ended with a shootout that takes place at the top of an under-construction skyscraper.