Ability To Place Models and Actors Challenged Company Violating Previous Order
The Federal Trade Commission has charged a New Jersey talent broker and its president with misrepresenting their ability to place children in high paying modeling and acting jobs and with violating a previous FTC order that barred them from doing so. The Commission has asked a federal district court to award civil penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation of the previous order and to require that the defendants post a performance bond before resuming work in the talent brokerage business.
National Talent Associates, Inc., (NTA) headquartered in Fairfield, N.J., also does business in Philadelphia, Pa., New York City and Long Island, N.Y., and Chicago, Il. Jerome Ashfield, named as a defendant, is its president.
In 1974 the FTC issued a complaint charging NTA and two of its officers, including Ashfield, with misrepresenting their ability to place children as models and entertainers. In 1975, the company signed a consent order permanently prohibiting misrepresentations about its ability to place its clients in modeling positions and requiring it to disclose specified information and provide customers with a three-day cooling-off period when signing contracts.
In both 1979 and 1985, NTA agreed to pay civil penalties of $25,000 and $150,000 respectively to settle charges that it had violated the order. In 1986, the order was modified to clarify certain information the company was required to provide to prospective clients.
In the complaint filed today, the FTC charges that NTA and Ashfield:
- misrepresented that NTA and its sales agents have the expertise to judge the suitability of people as models, actors or entertainers in the commercial advertising, talent modeling or entertainment industries;
- misrepresented the prospects of being signed up by well known talent agencies would be enhanced if potential clients sign with NTA;
- misrepresented what clients can expect to earn from modeling or acting if they sign up with NTA;
- made representations that contradict the disclosures required by the previous FTC order, and;
- failed to refund all payments received under the contract within 10 business days after receipt of a valid notice of cancellation.
The FTC has asked the court to impose civil penalties on the defendants, to enjoin the defendants from future misrepresentations and to require that they post a performance bond which they would forfeit if they violated the injunction.
The complaint was filed at the FTC’s request by the Department of Justice in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, in Newark, June 4.
NOTE: The Commission authorizes the filing of a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant actually has violated the law. The case will be decided by the court.
Copies of the complaint and other documents associated with the case are available from the FTC’s Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202- 326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC’s World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov
(FTC File No. D. 8960)
(Civil Action No.96-2617)
Office of Public Affairs
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3017 or 202-326-2985