State consumer authorities issued a warning Monday against Fashion Rock, which they said charges contestants thousands of dollars but fails to deliver on its promises.
In a statement, Fashion Rock said it has assumed or "successfully concluded" 107 contracts with contest winners with a total cash value in excess of $1 million in addition to other non-cash prizes.
Fashion Rock is an arm of Trans Continental Talent, an Orlando, Fla., company run by promoter Lou Pearlman, best known for launching the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync.
The company uses Fashion Rock to lure young people to Orlando for contests every three months, said Teresa Santiago, executive director of the New York state Consumer Protection Board. Winners are promised "more than $100,000 in contracts," but the contracts turn out to be cash prizes paid in monthly installments with no actual work provided, she said.
Sandra Couto, 26, said she won two modeling titles at a Fashion Rock contest last fall after paying Trans Continental about $5,000, but the only job she got was a $200 promotional event at a mall.
Fashion Rock said it is negotiating an agreement with Couto.