Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2015 Issue

Fraudulent Bookseller Pleads Guilty 23 Years Later, But Worse Charges Remain

Haugh's wanted poster, with his picture taken at age 46.

An author and scholar on Eastern Christianity and other topics pleaded guilty to 30 counts of mail fraud on October 21. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison, in his case, time served. Dr. Richard Stanley Haugh had an outstanding reputation as an academic. He had been an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Iona University. He was also a Visiting Professor of Church History at Rice. Earlier, he was a fellow in residence at Harvard. Add to that being one of the founders of the prestigious Falmouth Academy on Cape Cod. Dr. Haugh was also the recipient of numerous awards. And one more thing – he was a bookseller, though perhaps we should say "bookseller."

 

Just what made Dr. Haugh go so terribly wrong is not clear. A desire for money was certainly part, but if charges he still faces are true, he had much darker desires. According to charges to which he pleaded guilty, in 1989 Dr. Haugh used his reputation to open a business called Notable and Academic Books from his home. He later opened another, called Editions Briel, using the aliases Heinz Reuchlin and Paul Briel. He also claimed to be the representative of Buecher Vertriebs Anstalt, a Lichenstein business specializing in rare and scholarly books.

 

Next, Haugh began mailing brochures to various institutions, claiming to offer translations of early Christian works and an encyclopedia of such books he claimed to have authored. He required prepayment. The books did not exist. Nonetheless, he was able to secure prepayments from 150 universities, churches, seminaries, and individuals. They came from the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and Japan. The U. S. Attorney for Massachusetts listed Smith College, Cornell University, Bates College, and the University of Michigan as being among his victims.

 

By 1992, Haugh was in big trouble. He was arrested that year at his Belmont, Massachusetts, home. Haugh was armed with a licensed handgun. By now, the mail fraud was the least of his worries. He was indicted on charges of rape and other sexual misconduct with a girl under 14 years of age. Haugh claimed innocence, but didn't wait around for a jury of his peers to confirm it. He took off for parts unknown. His whereabouts remained a mystery for decades.

 

In 2013, Haugh posted an "Open Letter from Dr. Richard Haugh" on the internet from his hiding place. It was a rambling claim that he never committed rape, the girl (now in her 30's) was lying, there was prosecutorial abuse, his life was in danger, America convicts lots of innocent people, and the like. It is not the type of screed one usually associates with scholars, or innocent people for that matter, though he is entitled to the presumption of innocence on the more serious charges until someone proves otherwise. He did not address the mail fraud claims in his letter.

 

In 2013 or 2014, authorities became aware that he was hiding in Colombia. With some help from the State Department, they arranged for Colombian authorities to arrest him. Haugh was nabbed in a taxi. He was on an intercity journey carrying packed suitcases. Colombian officials believed he was trying to flee again.

 

Haugh was returned to the U.S. in February 2014. He had been awaiting trial ever since. With the plea bargain on the mail charges, Haugh will have to serve no more time in prison on that fraud. He is still liable for $167,883 in restitution. However, Dr. Haugh is not a free man. He has been turned over to authorities in Belmont to face the rape charges. If convicted, he may well never see the outside of a prison again. When asked by the press, his lawyer did not respond with any bombastic claims of injustice. He did indicate that he did not think Haugh would plead guilty to these charges, but did not rule out the possibility. When Haugh took off, he was 49 years old. Now he is 73. He will finally have his day in court – like it or not.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: U.S. / European Shipping Archive 1800-1814. The Widow Bermingham & Sons Collection. €7,000 to €10,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Constitution of Ireland. An important copy of the First Printing of De Valera’s new Constitution, approved in 1938. Signed by the Constitution Cabinet. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: A Rare Complete Run of the Cuala Press Broadsides. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Grose (Francis). The Antiquities of Ireland, 2vols. folio London (for S. Hooper) 1791. Magnificent Hand-Coloured Copy - Only 25 Copies. €3,000 to €5,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Cantillon (Richard). Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, Traduit de l'Anglois, Sm. 8vo London (Fletcher Gyles) 1756. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Gregory, (Lady Augusta). Spreading the News: The Rising of the Moon: The Poorhouse (with Douglas Hyde). Being Vol. IX of the Abbey Theatre Series. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Lavery (Lady Hazel). A moving series of three A.L.S. and a Telegram to Gen. Eoin O'Duffy, July-August 1927, expressing her grief at the death of Kevin O'Higgins. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Dampier (Wm.) Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde, ou l'on descrit en particulier l'Isthme de l'Amerique…, 2 vols. in one, Amsterdam, 1698. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Howell (James). Instructions for Forreine Travel Shewing by what Cours, and in what Compasse of Time…, London, 1642. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1999, First Edn., First Printing of Deluxe Collectors Edn. Signed. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: James (Wm.) A Full and Correct Account of the Military Occurrences of The Late War Between Great Britain and The United States of America. 2 vols. Lond. 1818. €650 to €900.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: The Laws of the United States, Published by Authority, 3 vols. Philadelphia (Richard Folwell) 1796. €600 to €800.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions