Main reading room of the New York Public Library
Main reading room of the New York Public Library. Reuters

Fiction writer Mitchell Graham has been charged in a multi-million dollar scam in which prosecutors allege he swindled money from women he met online.

Mitchell Graham is the pen name of Mitchell Gross, who lives in Atlanta and whose work includes The Fifth Ring trilogy, according to his author Web site.

Gross, 61, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire fraud and money laundering, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

After knowing them for a short time and beginning a relationship with them he told them that he had a very good investment counselor named Michael Johnson, assistant U.S. prosecutor Teresa Hoyt said, USA Today reported.

Gross allegedly told the women that Johnson worked for a subsidiary of Merrill Lynch, a local NBC news station reported.

Prosecutors allege that Gross even disguised his voice on the phone so that the women would think they were speaking with the fictitious Johnson.

The unsuspecting victims transferred millions of dollars into bank accounts controlled by the defendant, who allegedly depleted the funds to pay back previous victims and enrich himself, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, the NBC news station reported.

Gross was born in New York City and attended Ohio State University on a fencing scholarship, according to his author Web site. He has competed in fencing tournaments and practiced law for 20 years. He is disbarred, The AJC reported.