Efraim Diveroli, the real-life arms dealer who inspired Jonah Hill's character in War Dogs, is suing the co-author of his memoir.
Efraim Diveroli, the real-life arms dealer who inspired Jonah Hill's character in War Dogs, is suing the co-author of his memoir.
Miami-Dade County Corrections Department / Warner Bros. Pictures

War Dogs Smuggler Efraim Diveroli Sues Memoir Co-Author

Late last year, the Miami Beach stoner whose exploits in arms dealing became the basis of War Dogs, agreed to dismiss his lawsuit against Warner Bros., in which he'd claimed the company stole parts of his memoir and falsely marketed the movie as a true story.

But Efraim Diveroli is now entangled in another court battle — this time with the co-author of his self-published memoir, Matthew Cox. You might have heard of Cox. He's a notorious mortgage fraudster whom, along with partner Rebecca Marie Hauck, Fortune magazine once called the "Bonnie and Clyde of Mortgage Fraud."

"Cox authored the 'Once a Gunrunner' memoir... after extensively interviewing Diveroli and marshaling the facts to tell the story accurately while also portraying Diveroli in a more sympathetic light," the still-incarcerated Cox wrote in a filing in the Warner Bros. case.

In response, the now-free Diveroli sued Cox in November, arguing the inmate has no claim to his life rights or story. Diveroli's attorney, Matthew Troccoli, tells New Times Cox's allegations are "ridiculous, ridiculous, ridiculous."

"A lot of these guys in prison have nothing but time on their hands — everyone else's time," he says. "The jailhouse lawyers that will work for a can of tuna basically end up thinking, 'Oh, we could throw so much crap at the wall going against Warner Bros. and these people; someone's eventually going to throw money our way."

According to Cox's court filings, shortly after meeting Diveroli in 2012, he suggested the onetime gun runner write a book as a means of countering the way he would be portrayed in the then-upcoming comedy movie.

"Cox pointed out that Ratpack Entertainment was the same production company responsible for the Hangover movies and that they were going to make a joke out of Diveroli’s life," he wrote. "Cox told Diveroli that the movie would end up being named something like, 'Dude, Where's My Hand Grenade?'"

Diveroli eventually agreed and asked for Cox's help. In 2013, the two entered into an attorney-drafted co-author agreement. Under its terms, Cox was to be paid $500 upfront, in addition to receiving 10 percent of sales and 5 percent of royalties.

Though Diveroli has claimed he wrote the memoir, Cox says he is the true author. He claims he spent months interviewing Diveroli, who told him he couldn't write the book himself because he was bipolar and had ADHD.

The pair had hoped to make a killing by publishing the book and selling the film rights. But once the tome was completed, according to Cox, attempts by Diveroli and a publisher to sell it went nowhere because of the Warner Bros. film.

Even with a stop at the Miami Book Fair in 2016, as of November, only about 1,030 copies had sold.

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