W.Va. photographer told to stop, pay restitution
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - A Kanawha County judge has ordered a photographer to stop his fashion photography and modeling business.
After a ruling on a lawsuit filed by West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw, Stephen Ross and WV Modeling also has been ordered to pay $29,997 in restitution to clients and civil penalties.
McGraw's complaint against Ross alleges repeated violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act by Ross and his modeling agency, including the failure to deliver photographs, portfolios, modeling jobs, a pageant and other services as promised to customers.
Ross and WV Modeling Agency have been permanently enjoined from providing any fashion photography, modeling representation and modeling pageant promotion in West Virginia.
McGraw's office began investigating Ross and his agency, which is known by several other names, after receiving complaints from consumers.
Ross allegedly promised to schedule fashion shoots and assist clients in building their photograph portfolios. He also claimed he had connections with some of the country's top modeling agencies. The investigation by McGraw's Consumer Protection Division uncovered a history of deception with Ross continually failing to deliver on his promises.
"I caution those with dreams of becoming a model to do their homework before paying an agency hundreds of dollars upfront for their services," McGraw said in a press release. "At least one business preying on the aspirations of West Virginians has been removed from the industry."