There must be millions of thieves behind bars wondering where it all went wrong. Following traditional methods of separating vulnerable from their valuables like beating up old ladies, burgling homes, etc., more often than not they fell foul of law. All they really need to do is move with times.
Today, with a criminal mind and a modicum of PC savvy ungodly can do crime without doing time in largely unregulated Internet sector simply by forming a company and setting up a website. The Information Highway is swarming with highwaymen disguised as businessmen and racketeers rejoicing in title entrepreneur, relieving unwary and naÔve of their hard-earned possessions. Meanwhile law, ever respectful of man in suit, hovers by roadside scratching it's head, unable or unwilling to distinguish between villain and victim.
There's a multitude of businesses to choose from. Creativity, or ability to lie glibly, is much more important than acquired skill. Why not try publishing and kill two birds with one stone? If you still have manuscript of that potential best seller, one that's frayed around edges from bouncing from one slush pile to another - hey, you could be your own first customer!
Know-how is not an essential requirement. If old people you mugged in their home believed you were from electricity company after glancing at a fake ID, trust me, in virtual world you can convince frustrated writers that you're Second Coming. For Fake ID read Impressive Website and it's a known fact that most people who can string more than two words together believe they "have a book in them." Tell them it's true by offering to give their work chance it deserves and they're hooked! Editing? Isn't that what a PC spell-checker does?
You'll need an accountant and a lawyer, preferably Mafia trained; also a hook-up with a printing house that specialises in print-on-demand (that's like a highly sophisticated PC printer), so you don't have big print runs to worry about. "Sell a few - print a few" is your maxim and be sure to get cash up front. A "no returns" policy means no wastage. Big retail outlets, especially those that are Internet-based, will come running. Use their names in your advertising to impress authors while convincing them that their books will adorn shelves of main bricks and mortar bookstores - they'll love that line.
Your web pages will be selling a dream, so don't let truth spoil your marketing presentation. Tell those would-be authors that you're a TRADITIONAL publisher, and then offer royalties and a dollar up front to "legitimise" claim. You can say you're nation's Number One if you like - an equally meaningless phrase. Let them have two free copies of their own book for review purposes. Add something about sending out reviews then hit them with clincher - ABSOLUTELY NO PUBLISHING FEE REQUIRED. All website promises can be modified later as you see fit.
Now get your hard hat on because you're about to be drowned in a deluge of slush. Sure, there's a danger that you may sign up some writers with real talent (Travis Tea's "Atlantic Nights" - http://critters.critique.org/sting/ -springs to mind ) but don't let thought scare you into reading a complete manuscript. This is a hit and run, mass production operation where quantity rules over quality. Send a standard patronising acceptance. While they're still floating on cloud nine, get their signatures on an airtight seven-year contract and, WHATEVER ELSE YOU DO, make sure they give you get a list of up to 100 of their friends and family members for pre-publication targeting. Because of prohibitive cover price you will impose, those people could be only ones who buy book, besides of course author - your main target - who will have little option but to spend as much as he can afford on bulk-buying his own product for re-sale. These sales don't earn royalties. Soon you will have deprived victims of their prized possessions and all but emptied their wallets, without resorting to violence or attracting attention of police.