Operation Bottom Dollar Cracks Down on Job Scams
It's hard out there for a model.
The Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, issued a news release yesterday, announcing that she was pursuing judicial relief against two Chicago area modeling agencies, in a nationwide crackdown by the FTC, known as "Operation Bottom Dollar."
Madigan filed suits against Glamour Model Talent Inc. and its President John Vuolo. She also filed a separate complaint against Latte Model and Talent Agency Ltd. and its owner, Robert Owczarek.
Latte allegedly sold travel packages to customers, promising them a trip to a modeling convention in New York, along with top tier accommodations and career coaching. When push came to shove, nobody met the customers in New York and they did not have access to the convention.
Glamour is being sued for forcing their customers to pay $600 for photographs and headshots, telling them they have "the look." Customers were promised that their photographs and portfolios would be sent to various clients, such as Sears and The Gap. Customers allege that once the photographs were taken, the agency became unresponsive and failed to return any calls. In addition, when they did hear from the agency, the agency failed to provide any assurance that the modeling shots were sent out to their clients.
The suits seek injunctive relief from the court, prohibiting the defendants from engaging in modeling and talent services within Illinois. In addition to equitable relief, the lawsuits seek restitution from the defendants for consumers, a civil penalty of $50,000 and additional penalties of $50,000 for each fraudulent violation.
Remember -- more people looking for work means more people looking to prey on job-seekers' desperation.