A Kansas City wedding planner and photographer has been charged with multiple felony counts of theft and illegal merchandising practices.
Mario Antoine, 29, was arrested by Kansas City police Thursday morning, according to Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, whose office filed the charges Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court.
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Koster’s office alleges that Antoine, of Kansas City, North, and his company, Imagine Photo KC, took advance payment of thousands of dollars from Kansas City area couples to photograph their weddings and provide other services, such as limousines and disc jockeys.
Those services were not provided and Antoine later refused to provide refunds, according to the allegations.
“My office vigorously enforces the law so that Missouri consumers are assured of a fair and honest marketplace,” Koster said in a press release.
The charges involve six victims who paid from $1,500 to $250, according to court documents.
One Independence woman’s experience was typical.
She paid Antoine $1,000 for a variety of services, including wedding photography and videography, a limousine and a disc jockey. But as the wedding day approached, according to the court documents, she could not reach Antoine, who allegedly had changed his phone number and would not respond to emails.
She had to pay someone else for the services and never received a refund, according to court documents.
Antoine is charged with 10 felony counts stemming from incidents in 2010, according to court records. His bond is set at $25,000. He 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, according to Koster’s office.