Long Island Talent Agency To Pay Penalties And
According to the settlement agreement New Faces, based in Hicksville, claimed that it provided talent management services including industry placement and training, and that it was highly selective in scouting, screening and reviewing young people for potential as models and actors. However, New Faces is not a modeling agency and rarely obtained modeling or acting employment for its clients. It principally provided photographic services and for an additional fee, posted photographic images on its website, Gigacomps.com, presumably to promote its clients to industry professionals.
"This company appealed to the desires of children, teenagers and young adults to become 'stars.' Parents believed New Faces' misrepresentations that their children would have lucrative futures as working models or actors," Spitzer said. "Model and acting development centers and photo studios should only promise what they can actually deliver."
New Faces' "talent scouts" are alleged to have approached consumers, usually children, teenagers and young adults, in public places such as the Roosevelt Field shopping mall, Jones Beach and concert halls. The scouts led youngsters to believe that they had been scouted because they have a "look" that made them likely to succeed as models and actors. They were told that they would incur no costs and should contact a "Director" at New Faces to schedule an evaluation.
According to the allegations, those who met with a Director were led to believe that only a few of those interviewed were actually offered an opportunity with the company, that they must sign a "photo shoot agreement" that same day, and pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get started.
In truth, New Faces was not highly selective about whom it scouted or signed to photo shoot agreements. New Faces sometimes even extracted additional money from its clients by directing them for additional services to its affiliated companies, including Gigacomps.com, Vanique and Nijah Productions.
Prior to the settlement announced today, the Attorney General's Office, the Better Business Bureau and the Nassau County Department of Consumer Affairs had received approximately 55 complaints against New Faces.
Under the settlement, New Faces will pay the State $75,000 in penalties and $2,000 in costs, and up to $500,000 in restitution to aggrieved consumers. New Faces also has agreed make changes to its business practices and to comply fully with New York State Law. The company will retain relevant records for inspection by the Attorney General's office.
Those who wish to file a claim for restitution should file a complaint with the Attorney General's office, together with proper supporting documentation, by March 5, 2006, by contacting. the Attorney Generals complaint hotline at 1-800-771-7755.
The investigation was conducted by Juan Merchan, Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Nassau Regional Office, with the assistance of investigators Angel Rivera and Paul Matthews.