Former Wedding Photographer Pleads Guilty to Pornography Fraud Scheme
Faces 10 Years in Prison for Duping Numerous Women into Rehearsing for Fake Pornography Movies
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former wedding photographer in Raymore, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court today to a fraud scheme to dupe women into having sex – which he recorded – under the guise they were rehearsing for a pornography movie.
Mario Ambrose Antoine, 34, of Raymore, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to one count of wire fraud.
By pleading guilty today, Antoine admitted that he defrauded numerous victims in a scheme that lasted form Aug. 28, 2011, until Oct. 11, 2016. Antoine, posing in various roles as a company owner, recruiter, talent manager, photographer and videographer for multiple fictitious companies and private modeling websites (such as “Playboy Worldwide,” and “Playboy Asia”), induced women to engage in sexual and pornographic activity with him. Antoine promised the women, who signed contracts and modeling release forms, they would be paid thousands of dollars by these fictitious entities for their auditioning and modeling activity.
Victims of the wire fraud scheme were promised payments cumulatively totaling at least $550,000 and as much as $1.5 million. Antoine admitted that his fraud scheme affected 10 or more victims, and resulted in a substantial financial hardship to one or more of these victims.
In order to demonstrate the authenticity of the enterprise and assure prospective victims, Antoine prepared forged and fraudulent payment checks (purportedly issued to other “models”), IRS tax forms and Department of Homeland Security employment forms. He registered the domain name playboy-asia.com and created the e-mail account firstname.lastname@example.org, which he used to communicate with victims.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Antoine will be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without parole and must pay restitution to his victims, pending the court’s acceptance of the plea agreement at Antoine’s sentencing hearing on Sept. 13, 2017.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick D. Daly and David A. Barnes. It was investigated by the FBI, the Raymore, Mo., Police Department and the Office of the Missouri Attorney General.