POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement on Wednesday with a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based talent agency for allegedly deceiving New York consumers with advertisements promising meetings with talent agents.

ProScout Inc., which agreed to pay $35,000 in penalties, allegedly used misleading advertisements that promoted "open calls" for prospective talent that were free to the public but misled consumers into thinking actual talent scouts would be present. Instead, when consumers arrived, they were allegedly greeted by ProScout employees who were promoting a regional event with a mandatory cost of $700.

Consumers were allegedly told that at the paid regional event, they would have a brief runway walk in front of a group of talent agents. Many of those attending the "open calls" were parents with small children and young adults aspiring to be actors and models.

In 2010, ProScout held several "open calls" throughout New York, including three in Poughkeepsie and it allegedly advertised on area radio stations with dozens of spots for each open call. These advertisements violated the General Business Law (Article 22-A) and Executive Law 63 (12) for repeating the violation.

"This company took advantage of consumers with false advertisements promising the opportunity to meet with talent agents, but that was not the case," Schneiderman said. "My office has zero tolerance for scams that deceive New Yorkers, and will continue to fight to protect people's hard earned money."

ProScout has entered into an assurance of discontinuance and as part of the agreement will no longer use misleading advertisements. It will also pay $35,000 in civil penalties to the state.

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