Fake Wedding Photographer Scams $140,000 From CouplesBY Jeff Racheff on October 1, 2013
When it comes to hiring a wedding photographer, never underestimate the power of background research. A man in New Jersey was arrested after playing wedding photographer and bilking thousands from unsuspecting couples, ruining what should have been the happiest day of their lives.
Michael De Rubeis has been charged with six counts of theft by deception and six counts of impersonation after allegedly scamming 38 couples out of nearly $140,000. Arrested in April, De Rubeis used aliases, several different business names, and an intentionally disorganized operation to keep from having to deliver precious photographs to the clients that were unfortunate enough to hire him.
“That’s the statement that I’ve heard from almost every victim, that their wedding has been ruined,” said Detective Sgt. James Briggs.
De Rubeis, operating under the name Michael Distasio, pulled the same scam in 2003 when he was sued for deceptive practices in New York. An investigation revealed De Rubeis and his wife operated under at least five different business names. The couple reportedly produced poor-quality images, sent substitute photographers to weddings, and intentionally gave their clients the run-around when asked for a refund. In all they accumulated more than 150 complaints before authorities stepped in.
Of course, De Rubeis didn’t just steal money from these people. He also produced some pretty dismal work.