FSC: Police Refuse to Act on Performer Recruitment Scam

FSC: Police Refuse to Act on Performer Recruitment Scam
Rhett Pardon

CANOGA PARK, Calif. — The Free Speech Coalition on Wednesday sent a letter to City of Orange officials, complaining that police there have refused to probe what is considered to be a criminal network that has defrauded and assaulted would-be adult performers.

The scam, the adult industry trade group said, lures women into fake auditions for a high-profile magazine layout. Instead of a photoshoot, the women are pressured to have sex with the photographer, who then films the event, and tells them payment will arrive via direct deposit. The payment never arrives, and the victim only realizes the scam upon contacting the magazine. The FSC issued an alert about the scam last week.

The FSC letter detailed one such incident reported to police on June 21 in which a single mother from Florida was convinced to pay for a one-way ticket to Southern California and to rent a hotel room, where the alleged photographer convinced her to have sex while he filmed it as part of an audition.

(California Penal Code section 261(a)(4)(D) defines it as rape when a perpetrator fraudulently represents “that the sexual penetration served a professional purpose when it served no professional purpose.”)

In this most recent incident, the FSC said that a woman reported the crime to the City of Orange Police Department. She was accompanied by attorney Jeffrey Douglas.

According to the FSC, the police refused to allow the victim to have the attorney present when she spoke with them, refused to provide a rape kit for the victim, and demanded that she allow them to duplicate the contents of her phone in order to proceed with the case.

Denied access to her attorney, the FSC said, she declined.

Police from the City of Orange told the victim that she was not the first to report victimization; a nearly identical report had been filed several weeks earlier. They did not pursue that case, either, the FSC said.

Eric Paul Leue, FSC’s executive director, said he hopes the letter to City of Orange officials raises the profile and puts heat on the department to take action.

“It is outrageous that the City of Orange is aware of an ongoing scam that involves fraud, sexual assault and possibly human trafficking but refuses to investigate it,” Leue said. “We now know of at least half a dozen women targeted as victims, in four different states. We suspect there are many more who have not reported it. By allowing this to continue, the City of Orange is essentially granting permission for this network to continue to defraud and assault women.”

Leue said the FSC put the victim in touch with the Wayne Foundation, a survivor led counter-trafficking organization in Orlando. Penthouse Media, whose name was fraudulently used to lure the victim, paid for her ticket home.

In addition to city and county officials, the FSC letter was also sent to Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the FBI’s Counter Trafficking Unit, among others.

The letter can be found here.

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