A New York man pleaded guilty to being involved in a child-modeling fraud scheme that defrauded clients out of approximately $236,000 and was sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison. According to the report, the 45-year-old Smithtown resident pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree grand larceny and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud in addition to one count of fifth-degree conspiracy in May.
The prosecution claimed that the man and his co-defendants approached families with children and unaccompanied teenagers in a number of different malls between January 2011 and November 2012. They would persuade these individuals to purchase a number of modeling-related services, including photographs. Prosecutors claimed that the defendants would then attempt to have clients sign multi-year agreements, claiming that they had relationships with a number of widely known retailers. The defendants would then make statements indicating that if payments were not made immediately, the children and teenagers would lose those lucrative opportunities.
Three others were also accused of being involved in the swindle. They were identified as a 43-year-old Nesconset woman, a 31-year-old Brooklyn woman and a 26-year-old Jamaica woman. At the time that the Smithtown resident was sentenced, the cases for these individuals were still ongoing.
Those who are accused of committing white collar crimes such as fraud may face serious consequences, which could include a jail sentence, if they are convicted. White collar crimes generally involve a paper trail. When there is very strong evidence against an accused person, an attorney might try to reduce the severity of the consequences by negotiating for a plea deal with the prosecution. This might result in the prosecution dropping several charges.
Source: LongIsland.com, “Ringleader of Child Modeling Scam Gets Prison Time“, July 14, 2014