Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has filed criminal charges against operators of an unlicensed talent agency for allegedly unlawfully charging the parent of an underage child for fees and photographs.
“The promise of Hollywood has lured thousands of people from around the globe to pursue careers in television and movies,” Feuer said. “Unfortunately, that promise also attracts unscrupulous individuals who would take advantage of those hopes and dreams. My office will hold accountable those who prey on aspiring performers to the full extent of the law.”
Patrick Arnold Simpson, 48, Paul Atteukenian, 51 and their business Network International Models & Talent were each charged with seven criminal counts including violating the Krekorian Act (advance fees for talent services); operating without a “Child Performer Service Permit”, falsely representing that the business was a licensed talent agency, petty theft, attempted grand theft and criminal conspiracy.
Simpson and Atteukenian could face up to four years in jail and $33,500 in fines. Arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 25.
“When I wrote this law eight years ago, I wanted to create a tool to protect budding performers from being exploited by seasoned scammers,” said City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, author of California’s Talent Scam Prevention Act of 2009. “I applaud City Attorney Feuer for boldly enforcing the law as I intended. This prosecution should put all dubious talent businesses on notice that, if they break the law in Los Angeles, they will face the consequences.”
The agency is alleged to have signed a teenage girl for representation last April even though its businesses agency license had expired four months earlier and had failed to obtain a “Child Performer Service Permit.” Her mother was allegedly charged $560 for photographs and a portfolio by the agency, then paid $184 for photo services and was informed that she would need to pay the agency $8,245 so her daughter could attend the agency’s convention.
Under the law any talent agency providing an artist representation is prohibited from charging advance fees or requiring artists purchase photographs, lessons, or attend seminars as a condition of that representation.
(pictured: Mike Feuer)