This is the story of the American writers Clifford Irving and Richard Suskind who wrote a completely faked autobiography of the reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. They were very sure that nobody would believe the book to be a fake, not even their publisher. After all, who cares about the denials of an invisible person who might be somewhat insane? The two authors did a thorough research job about the life of Howard Hughes and successfully spun a legend why Hughes wanted to have an "authorized autobiography" after all and how the interviews had taken place in conspiracy style. They tricked their publisher into an advance of several 100,000 $, to be paid both to the authors and to Howard Hughes. The advance was paid by check. The check for Hughes was deposited into a Swiss bank account run by Irving's wife under the fake name of Helga Renate (=H.R.) Hughes.
The publisher tried to verify the manuscript with a specimen of Hughes' handwriting and still believed the authors when Hughes had everything denied. In the end the Swiss authorities found out about the fake bank account and the two authors eventually went to jail.
The authors had to tax the advance fee and ran into a huge debt when they additionally had to return the advance to the publisher. Richard Suskind played himself in the TV play, probably because he needed every additional cent after his prison sentence. So it became a documentary with a particularly good source and the best available adviser.
Some ten years later a similar thing happened in Germany with the faked "Hitler diaries".
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