CONSUMER AFFAIRS CLOSES THE CURTAIN ON
SUES OPERATORS TO COLLECT RESTITUTION AND OWED FINES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 23, 2004
The New York City Department of Consumer
Affairs (DCA) has shut down a notorious and elusive modeling
agency - Faces Models and Actors, located at 248 West 35th
Street - for operating without a license. In addition, the
DCA has filed a lawsuit against its operators - Judith DeLong
and Sharon Backos - seeking restitution for approximately
40 consumers, $20,000 in unpaid fines to the City, additional
penalties, as well as requesting a court order to permanently
stop their illegal activities. DeLong and Backos have operated
as three other unlicensed modeling agencies over three years
including Time Model, NOW! Models, and New York City People.
The curtain has finally closed for Ms.
DeLong and Ms. Backos -- classic scam artists who have repeatedly
deceived consumers, said DCA Commissioner Gretchen
Dykstra. Promising modeling and acting jobs with false
guarantees and profiting from very expensive photo collections
is the oldest trick in the book, and unfortunately easy
to fall for. Were pleased to be one step closer in
getting money back for consumers and making sure this fly-by-night
business stays closed.
Unlicensed agencies operated by Delong and/or
Backos have been issued violations and fined repeatedly
Illegally operating an employment agency
without a license, in four separate locations under four
Promising jobs if consumers buy a portfolio
of photographs, only giving negatives once they were purchased,
and then requiring additional fees for actual photos in
order to get employment.
Deceiving consumers by falsely advertising
services in daily newspapers including MODELS &
ACTORS EARN $900 TO $1,800 PER JOB, NO FEES,
MANY JOBS, and NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY.
By law, New York City modeling and talent
agencies that place jobs must be licensed by the DCA, and
must be bonded.
To file a complaint, check if a business is licensed, or
request a free copy of What You Need to Know About Employment
Agencies, call 311 or visit the DCA online at www.nyc.gov/consumers
CONSUMER TIPS WHEN USING A MODELING AGENCY:
New York City modeling/talent agencies
must be licensed by the New York City Department of Consumer
Affairs and must be bonded, as well. A licensed agency
is required to prominently display its license. You should
look for the DCA license number on receipts and ask about
the license if you do not see it posted.
Know the difference between modeling/talent
agencies and modeling/talent managers. A modeling/talent
agency will attempt to secure employment for modeling,
theater, film, radio, or television work, but do not manage
their clients business affairs. Fees for the agencys
services to place jobs are limited to 10% by law, in most
instances. On the other hand, managers advise their clients
on appearance, style, and overall career direction.
- Legitimate model and/or talent agents do not require or
request upfront fees.
- Aspiring models should look for and attend open
calls at reputable modeling agencies. Well-known agencies
usually have open calls on a weekly basis. Also avoid agents
who require upfront service fees; require photographs by
a specific photographer; and advertise in newspapers, or
on buses and subways.
- Upfront fees are illegal. Do not use an agent who requests
upfront fees for photo shoots or any other type of service.
- Do not believe promises of work. If a prospective agent
tells you he or she can book you for a particular film,
video or modeling assignment, beware. The most an agent
can do is send you on auditions and put in a good word on
- Beware of agents who solicit you over the phone or in
person. If someone approaches you on the street, take that
persons business card and check to see if he or she
is licensed. If not, forget it.
- Always get references. Before you sign anything, get
references from others whom the agent has represented in