Some modeling agencies not picture-perfect

Here’s a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.

Models beware

The Better Business Bureau is warning aspiring models to be wary of modeling agencies that charge upfront fees for head shots or photograph portfolios. “Some modeling agencies are just trying to make a fast buck and don’t deliver on promises of fame and fortune,” the bulletin said. The bureau has received more than 2,000 complaints in the last three years from people who said they were duped into paying large fees but received little or no modeling or acting work in return.

Possible purloined pensions

The owner of a Pasadena-based chain of day spas has been accused of stealing $26,000 from his employees’ retirement plan. A federal grand jury indicted Joseph Wong, president and owner of Amadeus Spa Inc., on Sept. 3, alleging that he withheld the money from his employees’ paychecks but failed to forward it to the retirement plan as promised. Wong, who was arrested Sept. 7 at his Rowland Heights home, is free on $50,000 bond. His company operates spas in Pasadena, Los Angeles, Napa and Newport Beach. Wong has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Fraud at your doorstep

Consumers should be careful when a magazine salesperson rings the doorbell, the Better Business Bureau cautioned in a recent bulletin. Many companies use teenagers as salespeople but may overcharge, fail to state the full cost of a subscription or never deliver the magazines, the bureau cautioned. One company that’s had a pattern of complaints about delayed delivery is Colorado-based Lrumar Publications, the bulletin said. The bureau has given Lrumar an F rating. Lrumar officials did not respond to a call from The Times.

Former officer accused

A former Palos Verdes Estates police officer accused of stealing nearly $19,000 from the union that represents the department’s officers has been charged with two felonies. Alex Ghazarian, 33, who is charged with grand theft and embezzlement by a public officer, is accused of stealing the money in 2008 from the Palos Verdes Police Officers Assn. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to appear in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Oct. 14 for a preliminary hearing.