Talent agent Chrystofa Stratton Aarons of CSA Models to pay $12,000 for ‘preying’ on ‘naive’ aspiring models
A Perth modelling agent has been fined almost $12,000 for “preying” on “naive” aspiring male models.
Chrystofa Stratton Aarons, trading as CSA Models, pleaded guilty on November 27 to six charges of breaching the Australian Consumer Law by accepting payments from four male clients but failing to supply services as promised.
In April 2017, a Redcliffe man entered into an agreement with CSA Models, paying $500 for flights to take part in a photoshoot in New Zealand. The photoshoot didn’t go ahead and the man received no refund.
Then in April 2019, a Mt Pleasant man paid CSA Models $200 for a portfolio photoshoot and $185 for “composite cards”. Neither were supplied and, again, no refund was forthcoming.
For us, the work and dedication comes easy, for we treat each model and client with the respect they deserve
In September that year Mr Aarons approached a Melbourne man with a “secret” opportunity in the UK which required a $2000 deposit, but would earn the aspiring model $11,750.
After paying the amount, Mr Aaron’s told the man the job would take longer so a further $750 was needed to cover additional travel costs. The job didn’t eventuate and no refund was provided.
Mr Aarons also approached a fourth man from Hamilton Hill in July 2019 who, in September, paid $1000 for flights to a photoshoot in Miami USA scheduled for December that year.
In October the man again paid Mr Aarons for an additional “opportunity” in Chicago, this time paying a deposit of $2000. Neither trip went ahead and no refund was provided.
The CSA Models website claims to be “WA’s Top Male Model Talent Agency”, stating it is “Committed To Respect”.
“For us, the work and dedication comes easy, for we treat each model and client with the respect they deserve but in the end we would be nothing without the talent that has made what CSA MODELS is today!,” the website states.
“Our main goal here is to offer a chance to those who want to be part of this industry and if they put trust in us, then we will achieve the best that life can offer.”
Magistrate Tyres said Mr Aarons had “preyed on young and naive people who were trying to start new careers in the industry” and that he “eroded their trust”, noting his previous criminal convictions for dishonesty, one of which resulted in a prison sentence.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said the fraudster used his perceived position within the industry to take advantage of the ambitions of vulnerable young people.
“These aspiring models put a lot of trust in Mr Aarons which he betrayed by failing to live up to the expectations that he created, choosing instead to resort to deception for his own financial gain,” Ms Chopping said.
“Given Mr Aarons’ past criminal record and, taking into consideration these more recent consumer offences, we would recommend that aspiring models carefully consider this information when deciding to engage the services of an agent.
“Certainly, they should not make full payment until they first receive the photos or other materials promised.
“Be suspicious if travel is involved and there is a demand that you pay upfront without first knowing the full details of the job and whether it is genuine.”
Mr Aarons was fined $8500 and ordered to pay costs of $695 as well as compensation totalling $2750 to three of the models, while the fourth man from Hamilton Hill has entered into a repayment arrangement.
Consumers who believe they have been misled, or have paid for goods or services which they haven’t received, can lodge a complaint on the Consumer Protection website.
Enquiries can be made by emailing email@example.com or calling 1300 30 40 54.
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