A Rocky Hill man is behind bars after police said he was running a fictitious modeling agency and scamming victims out of cash and nude or semi-nude photographs.
Anand Amin, 24, was arrested by Fairfield police on Thursday following a five-month investigation into the fake modeling agency called Gucci Top Modeling.
"They never come out of that house. I never see anyone there," said Rocky Hill neighbor Krystal Garofalo. "It's hard to find people who are legit and know what they're doing."
Police said for two years, Amin posed as a female talent scout for the agency. Potential models would be promised large sums of money for modeling work. However, police said, they were required to provide biographical information, pay a fee and submit nude or semi-nude photographs of themselves.
Fairfield police said several people did so and were then persuaded to pay even more money and/or perform sexual acts with Amin to prevent the release of the photographs to the public.
One of the victims was a student from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. Police said she was targeted through Facebook.
"His motive for doing this was to get money from the victim and photos from her," said Fairfield Sgt. Suzanne Lussier.
Amin even met the student on the university campus to collect her modeling fee, according to investigators. They said he extorted nearly $1,600 from her.
She told police she became suspicious when none of her model jobs happened.
"He started threatening her saying he was going to send out photos to family members and friends and she knew she was a victim at this point," said Lussier.
Investigators searched his home in Rocky Hill and found laptops, DVDs and other evidence connected to the crimes.
Other victims also said Amin threatened to send their photos to friends, parents, university officials and law enforcement officials.
"We did uncover 40 other women he had been corresponding with over the Internet," Lussier said.
Police said there was never any legitimate modeling aspect to the scheme and victims never received work or a refund of the money they provided.
They also believe there are still other victims out there.
Eyewitness News attempted to reach Amin at his home, but was unsuccessful.
Amin was held in jail on $100,000 and was charged with extortion and attempt to commit larceny.
Any victims who have not already been contacted by law enforcement should call Fairfield police at 203-254-4840.
The Connecticut Better Business Bureau released the do's and don't's for getting modeling work:
Look for a modeling agency. They will help develop you. You don't have to go to a modeling school to get work.
Don't be fooled by a fancy website. A legitimate agency will have an office and staff. No agency will hire you based on a photo and some details submitted online.
A reputable agency will never charge fees for membership or production of a portfolio. They make their money on commissions when they find you work.
Beware of someone who contacts you because they saw your photo somewhere on the Internet. You should be proactive to find an agency and research its reputation.
Be careful if you are approached by a "spotter" or scout on the street. Don't give out any information. Take their details, check them out and get back to them if they check out
No agency can guarantee you will get work. Challenge them if they make that claim.
People should know the difference between a modeling school and modeling agency.
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