MIDTOWN — A judge has ordered infamous scam artist Bradley Poster to pay nearly $1 million for ripping off unemployed models and actresses for more than six years.
Poster, who has used the aliases Brad West, Max Holden and Mark West, created a Midtown-based business aimed at New Yorkers that advertised supposedly available jobs for actresses and models on Craigslist and Facebook, according to the Department of Consumer Affairs.
The catch was, before the models were able to secure employment, Poster charged the unsuspecting job seekers with "consumers fees" both to take premilinary head shots and to post their profiles on his jobs website, created for the false company WMT Model & Talent Network Development, Ltd.
Ultimately, Poster never helped any actors or models secure employment, but instead swindled them out of their money for pictures that he didn't post.
Poster was ordered to pay $908,400 in fines after nearly seven dozen complaints were filed against him. The judge found Poster "to be responsible for illegally advertising services that he did not provide, charging customers for photography services as a precondition for securing jobs that did not exist, and operating as an unlicensed employment agency," according to the DCA.
The Department of Consumer Affairs charged that between March 2005 and February 2011, WMT Model & Talent Network placed 910 false advertisements. The company also worked under the names World Model Talent, WMT, Model and Talent Network Management, and others.
“Unfortunately, and unacceptably, WMT Model & Talent Network and Mr. Poster personally resorted to the classic scam in modeling agencies: bait and switch. By purposefully preying on consumers looking for legitimate employment, he instead sold them unnecessary and unrequested photography services," DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz said.
"To any business that still hasn’t gotten the message, I’ll say it again: any employment agency that takes advantage of job seekers, especially during these tough economic times, will answer to us.”
This was the second time that Poster was charged for operating a scam. In 2005, Poster was forced to pay almost $27,000 in public fines for operating an unlicensed employment agency called Look International, according to the DCA.
Scammed artists were also upset about Poster's ploy.
"TOTAL SCAM! I went thru the process and they have yet to post my pictures," New York resident Katerina M. said on the company's Yelp Review.
"I knew going in that it would be 1 hour of my life wasted."
Others agreed, relating horror stories about unkept, dingy offices, a pushy "manager," and showing news videos about people that were supposedly former clients, but in reality had nothing to do with the modeling agency at all.
"Like hello I am not stupid," Elmerhust resident Marina G. said on Yelp, about Poster's attempts to trick her into paying for headshots.
"Anyways.. BEWARE!!! this is a TOTAL SCAM to be an extra or do anything AN AGENCY SHOULD NOT CHARGE YOU!!!!! They should have confidence in you and they get paid for you being hired anyways, so don't fall for it."
The phone number listed on Yelp and other ads led to a disconnected line, and DNAinfo was unable to contact Poster for comment.