At least, according to Dean Wesly Smith it is, and he should know. He writes:
[This scam] is designed to take a writer's work, control their work, and make more money off that work than the writer does.
What scam is this? How does it work?
Writers lose money, lots of money, by allowing an agent to publishing their manuscript through the agent's publishing company. Here's the math:
If you publish your book on Amazon and charge $5.00 for it you would receive 70% of this which comes to $3.50. That $3.50 is yours to keep and do with whatever you want.
If you publish your book through an agent scam the agent takes that $3.50 and splits it down the middle, half for you and half for him. What the author might not realize, though, is that his expenses come only out of your half! So while, in our example, the agent is receiving $1.75 of the $3.50 every pay period, this money doesn't count against his expenses and you, the author, get zilch until all of the agent's expenses are paid.
This is not a good deal for writers.