[Last Updated: January 27, 2006 ]
[First Posted: July 30, 2004]

UPDATE: Spitzer Crushes Long-running NY Photo Mill Scam ($500,000 in restitution)
"People who wish to apply for restitution have until March 5th to send their documentation to the state attorney general's office." (Source)

Nijah Models and Talent, New Faces Development Center, Gigacomps.com

"Please tell me what I can do to get my money back since I can use it a lot more for [my daughter's] college education."

This background check contains Better Business Bureau file information, a published news report, and consumer comments.

$850 photo shoot
$800 "web exposure"

Nijah Models and Talent

NIJAH MODELS & TALENT
115 River Rd. Suite 9
EDGEWATER, NJ

"The Bureau has requested basic information from this company. The Bureau has not received a response." [July 30, 2004]

http://www.trenton.bbb.org/nis/newsearch2.asp?ID=1&ComID=0221000017003762

NEW FACES
(THE NEW FACES DEVELOPMENT CENTER INC.)
25 Woodbury Road, Suite A
HICKSVILLE, NY

"Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau." [July 30, 2004]

"Complaints to the Bureau have alleged non receipt of refund upon cancellation of agreement, non receipt of photos or high pressure sales tactics used to sell photos" [July 30, 2004]

http://www.bbbnewyork.org/businessreports/Default.aspx?id=53246

GIGACOMPS.COM, INC.
ATTN: VANESSA FERRELLI
25 WOODBURY ROAD
HICKSVILLE, NEW YORK 11801

Public Interest
Email of Questions, Concerns, Comments, and Complaints

Please tell me if Newfacesdc is a reputable company or not.

Thank you,

Parent

In October 2003 I gave New Faces very close to $2,000. I feel I've been [...]. Can you help me with any information and any advice on what I might do to get back my money?

Parent

What information do have on file with respect to the reputation of this firm and its affiliates?

Thank you,

Parent

I would like any info on a company from Hicksville, NY, called Newfaces Development Center. They said their scout had seen my X- and X-year-old in the mall, and they want us to bring them in to meet them in Hicksville, New York. It's about three-hour ride for me.

What questions should I be perpared to answer? And if they ask for money what are usual fees?

Thank you,

Parent

Can you send background information about New Faces Development Center, located at 25 Woodbury Road, Hicksville, NY?

Thank you,

Parent

About two weeks ago my wife paid about $600 for photo shoot for my X-year-old daughter and was also told that we could get about $50/hr for photo shoots and commercials if my daughter was picked. After that we picked up the slides which cost us about $40 for the copyrights of our own daughter's slides which I thought was strange. Then the agency New Faces Development Center (Long Island, NY) wanted about $500 to $1800 for comp cards and posting to the online modeling agency site: newfacesdc.com.

Is any of this legitimate? Or is this all a scam? Do you have any information good or bad about this agency? Before I pay any more money for my daughter to be in showbiz I wanted to get a background check.

Thanks so much,

Name withheld,

Long Island, NY

Just wanted to know if you have any information about a company called Nijah Modeling & Talent Agency. They are located at 115 River Road, Edgewater, NJ. They say they are in contact with IMTA.

My daughter was called for an interview. They really liked her and asked that she have a photo shoot done and comp cards made. They are charging $850 for a three-photo layout. I left a deposit of $100.

Is this a good deal? Is the company a scam? Is there any way to get my money back if it's not a good thing, or should I not do the shoot and not pay the rest of the balance?

Any information you may have will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance for your help regarding this matter.

Concerned Parent

I have recently been "scouted" by NIJAH and have had the photo shoot done. The first time my pictures didn't come out well. They allowed me to reshoot them free of charge, and added another wardrobe change for the same price.

Recently, I had an interview with a director from IMTA that was at the NIJAH office and she will be in contact with me within the week regarding the audition I had for the company. If I get chosen by her to be in the IMTA event in July, should I attend or is it a scam?

An Inquiring Model

I am not sure if my husband and my daughter have been recently scammed. About eight weeks ago my daughter was spotted in the mall by a "scout" from "New Faces Development Center," based in Hicksville, NY.

My husband and I brought her in to see what it was all about and while there they said that my husband should also be modeling.

Needless to say, the following weekend we spent a good amount of money for photos/comp cards, and then even a more significant amount of money to post their pictures on "gigacomps.com" website, where they said top modeling agencies have access.

While signing the contract to have their pictures posted, an agent from NIJAH Productions came into the room and said that that they and their pictures were remarkable, and started to speak to us about the IMTA. Telling us how you have to be selected and that she only selects those with potential. Just this weekend she contacted us and said she had selected them for the IMTA for their age categories.

We are going back in two weeks to discuss what this "IMTA" entails and thanks to a good friend of mine who is an actress, she sent me your website where I have just finished reading about the IMTA and the agencies who are associated with it.

Do you have any information on NIJAH Productions and New Faces Development Center?

Concerned Parent

I'm a senior in high school, and, a few weeks ago, my classmate passed out flyers about an agency who were looking for talent. On the front of the flyer they had TV shows like Survivor, Big Brother 2, and magazines like Seventeen. On the bottom of the flyer they had a part where we were supposed to sign in the area. They also had a part that asked, if I could rate myself from a 1-10, what would I rate myself; I rated myself a "8," so I signed it and handed it back to my classmate.

Now today, NIJAH MODELS AND TALENT called me saying that I was rated number 8 (this is what I put on the flyer), and they would like to see me. She proceeded to give me directions and set up an appointment.

I DID NOT GO!

Teen Student

I took my children to New Faces Development Center in Hicksville, Long Island for an interview (that I actually sat in for with them). They had to fill out and sign a application before they could be seen. Toward the end of the application, one of the questions was, "Do you know what a composite card is?"

When we finally did get seen, we were interviewed by a woman by the name of Etta Warren. She had explained to us what a composite card was. The cards range from $1.75 to $4.50 each.

Then there were something called "slides," which were like negatives, but were defined by her as copyrights to the pictures we would be taking later on. The slides were $37.50 plus tax, which came up to a total of $40.00.

She then asked me if I or any of my children worked. None of us work, but all of them are in school. Being that no one works in the household, she said the cost of the pictures to be taken at a photo shoot would be approximately $400 each child, but could only be taken from Monday-Friday.

If I wanted them to take pictures of my children at the shoot on the weekend, it would cost $500 each child. That would be $1,200 for all three of my children between Monday and Friday and $1,500 if I wanted them to shoot on the weekend.

According to Ms. Warren, the $400 each charge was a "discount" to what we could really be paying. In other words, the more income in the family, the more the photo shoots cost.

Now, I've been doing some research on the whole modeling industry and one of the things that I came across was paying for pictures. Anyone trying out to be a model should not be asked to pay to take pictures and there is a credit card (which I chose to pay by) limit for modeling and I truthfully believe that $1,200 is way over the credit card budget for modeling.

Ms. Warren also said that they send these pictures to other agencies and they choose whom they want. The agencies, she said, then call back New Faces Development Center and ask for the model. From there, New Faces calls the model and have them come in for more shooting.

If you do not get a call from New Faces, it means that you didn't get picked and there is no refund. It sounds like a game of Russian roulette on the shady side, and I am really interested in knowing more about this company. Etta Warren claims that they have been is business for a decade.

Concerned Parent

New Faces DC: does this outfit run a modeling scam?

Concerned Parent

I have a complaint to make about a company who calls themselves New Faces Development Center. They [...] people's hopes and dreams. They have people soliciting the malls all the time, asking children for there information such as there Name, Phone number, Age, Height, etc... I am very concerned. It has been done on more than one occasion.

I've heard from a lot of children that they get approched by this company in the malls. They are a [...] company. I've looked up a lot of information on them. Newfaces Development Center has people call people's houses and try to schedule appointments to bring in the children along with their parents, because they know before the children come in, they are going to charge the parents anywhere from $500-$1,200 for pictures.

They ask you to pay an additional $800 to post your photos on a site called www.Gigacomps.com! I looked up the company Gigacomps, and it comes up as the same owners as Newfaces Development Center!

They tell you that they are going to send photos to agencies that they work with, when the only place they send these kids photos to is their own website. Therefore they aren't really "sending" these photos anywhere beside putting them on their own websites.

These kids never hear from the company ever again after the parents pay the full amount. They have people call you and make sure that you come in with a valid credit card, and valid identification. Before you jump into this company, do some reaserch on them, before you get sucked into losing A LOT of money!

Concerned Parent

My husband and I would appreciate receiving any confidential information about New Faces Development Corp (New Faces DC) located in Hicksville, New York, and IMTA. We wish to share this info with our 19-year old son who was "scouted" and clearly [...] to date (photos, etc).

The information will be useful for his education and to not making the same mistake twice.

Thank You,

Mother of Aspiring Model

I would like to know if there's anyone who can help me get my money back from a company called Nijah Models & Talent aka New Faces.

Here's my story...

Someone from that company called my house and told me that they were calling from Nijah Models & Talent and that the Directors were very interested in my daughter.

I asked where did they get my daughter's name from.

All they would say is that she had to have filled out something.

My instincts said no but my daughter's face was begging me to say yes, and, if you have children, then you know what that's like.

So we went to the interview and before my husband and I could sit down, this man had us pulling out our wallet and giving him $700.

And the list goes on.

I don't know if I'm writing to the right people, so I'll wait to hear from you before I go in to telling you my whole story.

Thanking you in advance,

Concerned Parent

In September my daughter while at the mall was approached by a "modeling scout" from New Faces in Long Island. She's been wanting to do this for a very long time, but with all the scams around every time, I took her to an agency, but they always ended up being a fake.

This time they wanted my husband and I to go and see them.

When we went we had pictures of my daughter which they asked us to bring. While there the gentleman Tim Robins "Director" got my daughter all excited when he asked us if he could borrow one of the pictures we brought for a minute, seems there was someone there from Young Miss looking for a new face and we said OK.

He came back telling us they liked her and asked if they could keep the picture which of course we said yes to.

They told us they had just booked one of their girls with Prada and got her a a $5,000,000. "Yes, FIVE MILLION!"

Of course with my daughter getting ready for college and us trying to help her as much as we could to get her a good college education we thought this would help her. They NEVER told us they weren't a modeling agency, they told my daughter to go on Newfaces.com NEW FACES TALENT - Interactive online talent portfolio services for models & actors which is a modeling agency, but their site is NewfacesDC.com New Faces - Home Page which they failed to say.

The place was packed with fools like ourselves with dreams for their children as ourselves. We paid them the first time $850.00 for the photo shoot which he pushed us to do as soon as possible so she can get started right away, and as it so happened the best photographer just happened to be there two days later, so we went ahead and did as the professional advised us to do.

When we went back for the slides a week later they let us choose what five photos we liked best for her composite sheet.

We picked the ones we liked and then a so-called "professional" came in and looked them over and told us what a great choice we had made.

When I saw them on the web site I told them I wasn't happy since her head was cut off on top like so Photo View Now to get the exposure we had to join something else, a website called GIGACOMPS (GIGA COMPS). Of course that cost money too, but lucky for us that week they had a special so we went for the $800 for the year but we got two years instead. With that you get your composite on that site and they do nothing else.

They did call me once by mistake to ask for more money since they thought I owed them still another $600. But then when I set them straight they didn't call anymore. I've been looking at different articles and different sites here to see what kind of company they are and I haven't read anything good about them. Please tell me what I can do to get my money back since I can use it a lot more for her college education than some [...]. (I emailed them and told them I was unsatisfied and planned on taking action but they never responded.)

Parent

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   National Modeling Scam Is Focus of LI Hearing; [NASSAU AND SUFFOLK
Edition]
      Lisa Schiffman. STAFF WRITER. Newsday. (Combined editions). Long
Island, N.Y.: Nov 18, 2003. pg. A.61
 Full Text (502   words)

      In shopping malls, bus terminals, on college campuses, wherever young
people congregate, talent scouts try to seduce them with promises of fame
and fortune.

      Hoping to be the next new face in television or magazines, hundreds of
aspiring young models and actors agree to pay so-called talent agencies
thousands of dollars for expensive photography, to be put on Web sites and
to attend "conventions" attended by casting directors and producers where
they will be "discovered."

      But most become targets of a nationwide modeling scam, said consumer
advocates and experts in the fashion industry that attended a public hearing
at Farmingdale State University yesterday sponsored by the state Consumer
Protection Board and state Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick).

      "The only thing that comes out of their hopes, wishes and dreams is a
financial nightmare," said Fuschillo, chairman of the Senate Consumer
Affairs Committee.

      Anna Roberto and her daughter, Christina, of Bellmore, know that
firsthand. Last winter, Christina, 14, was approached in Roosevelt Field
mall by a talent scout from the New Faces Agency.

      Advised by agency representatives that she had a "different look"
because of her cleft chin, Christina persuaded her mother to dish out $1,000
for photos. After spending the money, the family was never contacted by the
agency again. "It was a dream for my daughter that never came true," Roberto
said.

      "It's not about money, it's about self-esteem, hopes and expectations
and not having them fulfilled," said Betty Schram, of Northport, who said
her daughter, Amanda, had been a victim of a scam.

      Jill Harkins of Setauket said that after her daughter Meghan, 15, was
approached in the Smith Haven Mall last August, her parents were asked to be
with Meghan for the interview. In the waiting room, a videotape played
showing the company, New Faces Development Center of Hicksville, being
interviewed by News 12. Jill Harkins said that made it seem legitimate.
After paying $850 for photography and the Web site, they were never
contacted again. "They feed on your ego," Harkins said. "Looking at her eyes
beaming (referring to her daughter), I wanted to do what would make her
happy."

      Representatives for New Faces declined to comment last night, though
one said she could put reporters in touch with a satisfied customer.
Fuschillo said he is working on ways of putting these agencies out of
business permanently. One proposal would require a cooling-off period in
which agencies would give clients three to five days to think before signing
any contract.

            [Illustration]
            Caption: 1) Newsday Photo / David L. Pokress - Betty Schram,
left, tells of how her daughter, Amanda, right, was misled by a modeling
agency. Teresa Santiago, of the state Consumer Protection Board, is in back.
2) Newsday Photo / David L. Pokress - Not So Model Behavior / State consumer
advocates yesterday held a public hearing at Farmingdale State University to
warn families about modeling agency scams. Amanda Schram, 14, of Northport,
spent thousands of dollars with such an agency on pictures like she is
holding. (A27 NS)

      People:   Fuschillo, Charles,  Harkins, Jill,  Schram, Amanda
      Section:   NEWS
      Text Word Count   502

Comments

Read more about IMTA. Ask Nijah if they split fees with IMTA like John Robert Powers. Check to see if Nijah has an employment agency license. This is required by law of modeling and talent agencies in New Jersey. Call the Regulated Business Section at 973-504-6370. http://www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/ocp.htm

See also Modeling Tips for Model Photography and Modeling Industry Legal History

Could someone please send a copy of a Nijah contract?

To discuss your situation or experience with a sympathetic New York government representative, contact Jon Sorensen, New York Consumer Protection Board (518) 473-9472. See also Jon's earlier press release on a photo mill scam:

Check complaints at Office of New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
File complaints at http://www.oag.state.ny.us/resource_center/complaints/complaints.html

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