TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A New Jersey-based company that promised hopeful parents their children would be marketed to modeling or acting companies has been charged with consumer fraud.
Authorities said the company forced parents to pay for what amounted to expensive photo shoots.
State Attorney General Paula Dow said more than 200 complaints have been filed against Industry Model and Talent Studios and a successor corporation, Interface 1. The company is owned by Roman Vintfeld.
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Kevin Fernandez, 16, said he thought the modeling agency would get him work, but instead it allegedly charged his mom $1,000 for a photo shoot and asked for hundreds more to promote him.
"I guess I was lied to, you know. I guess I was just deceived," he told CBS 2's Christine Sloan.
Deceived because they said they didn't know the contract they signed was for a photo shoot only.
"The person said 'oh I'm sorry, we cannot return your money, because once an appointment is scheduled, the money is not refundable,'" Fernandez's mother, Claudia Cordoba, said.
"These companies would case malls and theme parks, shower false flattery on the children and give them the representation that they had prospects within show business," said Thomas Calcagni, the director of the N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs.
However, an attorney representing Interface disputed the claims in the lawsuit and said "We have had the opportunity to review the claims made in the complaint and find them baseless. The company is prepared to vigorously defend all of its actions."
A spokesperson at Interface said the agency gets thousands of clients and manages to get 85 percent of them auditions or with agencies.
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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