"A man who ran at least five bogus modeling agencies and defrauded about 2,000 people in the Philadelphia area was sentenced yesterday to 3 years and one month in prison. U.S. District Judge Charles R. Weiner also ordered George Bing Tonks to pay $525,640 in restitution to victims of his scam, who paid agency fees and bought photos but never received modeling assignments." -- "Bogus Modeling Agency Owner Sentenced," Legal Intelligencer, Sept. 30, 1993

What is a photo mill?

A modeling scam in which an individual, group, photographer, agent, agency, modeling school, model manager, etc., financially exploits aspiring models or working models by engaging in continuous sales of photography and/or comp cards and/or portfolios which are overpriced, unnecessary, or by which a profit is derived at the expense of the models under the pretext getting the photography, comp cards, or portfolio will land them modeling jobs worth more than the photography-related expenses.

Red flags:

  • payment is made to the agency, not the photographer
  • high sales pressure
  • extreme pricing
  • agency recommends only one photographer
  • similar to Dupont Model Management

Case Study: Dupont Model Management

"The net revenues of Dupont Model Management, Inc., during 1989 and 1990 were at least $2.1 million. All but approximately $16,070 of these revenues were derived from the sale of photographic services to prospective models." -- FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION v. DUPONT MODEL MANAGEMENT, INC. and DAVID L. DU PONT

FTC v. Dupont Model Management

See also: News reports about Dupont Model Management

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