FROM:
Alvin G. Weger, Assistant District Attorney   CONTACT PERSON:
Robin B. Wakshull, Deputy District Attorney
Consumer Protection Unit
(408) 792-2584   For Release on February 13, 2003   CRIMINAL CHARGES FILED AGAINST OWNER OF MODELS INTERNATIONAL   The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has filed a criminal complaint against Mary Reyes Valencia, also known as Reje Valencia and Maria Lopez, charging her with four counts of grand theft and eighteen counts of violations of the Advance-Fee Talent Service law.  All charges arise out of Valencia’s operation of a business known as Models International, which was located in Los Gatos and which is now located in Campbell, California. Valencia was arrested on Wednesday, February 12, 2003.
 
Employees of Models International solicited young people with dreams of modeling and acting careers to sign up for its Models Program.  While claiming that Models International was not a modeling school or agency, Valencia’s program included: a photo shoot with professional photographers, hairdressers and make-up artists; prints for a portfolio and 100 zed cards (which are like a model’s business card); professional coaching and training; counseling, advising and career direction; and representation to top agents and industry professionals.  During individual sales interviews, victims stated that they were also told that Models International would promote the models and represent them to casting directors, agents and clients and get them modeling jobs.  The fee for the Models Program was between $2,190 and $2,895, which was paid upon signing an agreement, in advance of any photos or coaching or jobs.  Most of the victims understood and believed that they were signing up with an agency that would represent them and work to get them jobs.  They did not receive that representation nor help with employment or jobs.  Many did not receive photos after the photo session.  Some never received a photo session.   Neither Models International nor Valencia has a license to act as a talent agent and to procure or offer to procure employment for models or actors.  Neither Models International nor Valencia has filed a bond with the Labor Commissioner nor do the contracts or agreements comply with specific statutory requirements of the Advance-Fee Talent Service laws.   Anyone who has information about Models International is requested to contact the District Attorney’s Office at (408) 792-2880.    

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