Man charged for scamming brides out of thousands of dollars - KCTV5

Man charged for scamming brides out of thousands of dollars

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A wedding photographer is charged with defrauding a number of couples, taking their money and leaving them at the altar.

The sole photographs Juliette Dellavia could salvage from her wedding day is the first thing you see when you step into her home.

But where she now has eight, there should have been hundreds.

"It's very frustrating to get robbed like we did, robbed of memories most importantly, but also robbed financially," Dellavia said.

Allegedly robbed by their own wedding photographer, Mario Antoine, he's now accused of scamming six different brides out of their down payments.

"We found Mario's ad on Craigslist, we were trying to be budget conscious, it seemed like a really good deal," Dellavia said.

The couple paid him $1,000 up front, with a promise of more when he was done.

On the day of the wedding, he turned up, spent 12 hours taking pictures that Dellavia calls beautiful and afterward posted a few to Facebook, the ones now on display in the Dellavia's home.

But then the story took a right turn away from a happy ending.

"And then everything just blew up, he became very hard to reach, he just kind of disappeared," Dellavia said.

The couple lost hope of ever getting their prints.

"The story goes that he had pawned the two laptops that he owned, with all the pictures on them," Dellavia said.

And it got worse when she learned police couldn't help.

But now the Missouri attorney general's office is stepping in, charging Antoine with 10 felony counts of stealing and unlawful merchandising.

"It's a really good feeling to know that you were violated, and someone is standing up for you. So whatever comes of it, it's nice to know that someone's on your side."

Dellavia never got her money back. Now she said it's her mission to keep others from falling victim like this.

A while back, she spotted Antoine using her photos to try and restart his business in Tennessee, so she's urging other brides to keep a look out.

Antoine was arrested Thursday by the Kansas City police and is being held on a $25,000 bond.

According to Koster, Antoine and his company, Imagine Photo KC, took thousands of dollars from Kansas City area brides in advance to photograph their weddings and provide other wedding-related services, such as limousines and DJs. However, on the day of their weddings, Antoine either failed to appear entirely or did not provide all promised services.

Antoine faces up to seven years in prison and a $20,000 fine for each of the four stealing by deceit counts and up to four years in prison and a $20,000 fine for each of the six unlawful merchandising practices counts.

KCTV5 tried tracking him down Thursday, but couldn't reach him.

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