Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Midday Update for June 3, 2008

Hello PMAA Parents! Here is the Midday Update:

1.) Mary-Beth Haggerty-Shaw from the Attorney General's office (Investigator, Consumer Protection Section) 206-464-5478 is investigating all of the AG complaints received in Washington. For non-Washington folks, please give her name and number to your respective AG Offices.

2.) Washington Parents: Please call Bellevue Police - Officer Carlson - 425-452-6917 or you may e-mail him at dacarlson@bellevuewa.gov and add your name to Case #08-5892. It is critical that he have the names and information for each family to gather all of the counts of fraud. For some reason, Officer Carlson doesn't have many parent names and we need to make sure that he has everyone's name since this is where the alleged (although we know it is real) crime took place. Please note that Officer Carlson is a Field Officer and is hard to reach so e-mail may be best. This is urgent!

3.) There is a company called "ACT" (Not to be confused with the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco) that appears to be holding "auditions" in the Pennsylvania/New Jersey area. We are investigating who they are and what information they are conveying and whether they are associated with PMAA. PARENTS Considering this - BEWARE!! As soon as we have more information we will update the blogspot. If anyone in New Jersey or Pennsylvania is reading this blogspot and can offer more information, please post it under comments of this section. We are monitoring the blogspot and updating it as information comes in.

4.) Need Parent Volunteers!! It has been suggested that in each area, we find what television and radio stations PMAA advertised on, contact the Sales Director for that station and have them forward any information that they have to the Law Enforcement in each jurisdiction investigating the case. In Seattle, it needs to be forwarded to the Bellevue Police Department (Officer Carlson) referencing the case listed above. If you want to volunteer for your area to do this, please post it in the comments section and send an e-mail to ljgossett@yahoo.com so that we know this effort is being worked.

5.) 1 More Parent Volunteer - we recently discovered that some people attended "auditions" in Washington at the Bellevue Hyatt, while others attended "auditions" at the Meydenbauer Center. We need a parent to contact the Meydenbauer Center and find out what information they have and again get that forwarded to the Bellevue Police Department referencing the case number. If you are willing to assist, please e-mail ljgossett@yahoo.com and let us know what you find out.

6.) We know of fraud in San Diego, CA; Nashville, TN; Tampa, FL; Albuquerque, NM; Las Vegas, NV; in addition to Seattle, WA. If you know of other locations, please post a comment and let us know what other cities. To assist Law Enforcement, I will set up a blogspot for each city so that names and contact information can be sorted by city. Stay tuned for the blogspot urls.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Seattle News Story Tonight

One of our parents - Linda Gossett, who is managing our mail list, and her daughter, Lauren were interviewed tonight. You can view the newscast at this link:


For PMAA Parents Outside of Washington

For PMAA Parents outside of Washington, here is what you need to do to help stop these people:

1.) Call the police department in the local jurisdiction where you paid the money to PMAA and file a "fraud" case. Please let the police know that this has been happening in other parts of the country and tell them to contact the Bellevue Police Department and refer to Case # 08-5892 and their local phone number is 425-452-6917. Officer Carlson took the original report and all of the families in Washington will be filed under this report. This is the case number that we in Washington will use for reporting fraud to our credit card companies. In other states you will need a case number for your credit card company.
2.) Once you have filed with the police and have your case number, please file with the State Attorney General's office for your state. This will prevent Stanley Robinson or his wife from procuring a business license in your state again. You may also want to include the names of any of the people that you have interacted with at PMAA.
3.) After you have a police case number, please file a report with www.ic3.gov. This is the federal law enforcement task force that tracks multi-jurisditional reports and will coordinate with the FBI. Please note that the FBI can't just take a case without the local jurisdiction determining that it is out of the local area. This is why we need to thread the cases in the other states together with ours.
4.) Once you have a police report, and have filed with the other law enforcement agencies, please contact the Better Business Bureau for your area. Again, leave no stone uncovered. Please feel free to post any police report case number on the blogspot. The blogspot can be viewed and used by law enforcement to contact people and to look up dates and activities.
5.) Please make a copy of your contract, your returned check (if you don't get one, now is the time to order it from the bank as law enforcement will need this at some point in the future), your credit card bill with transaction information (if you paid by credit card), any business cards or notes that you have as well as a written summary of dates and times - when you went to PMAA auditions, who you spoke with, any information that you have about the event or whom you met with; and stick all of this information in a safe place where you can find it readily.
6.) If you paid by credit card company call and issue a fraud claim and use the police case number from your local jurisdiction.

If everyone did these steps, law enforcement would kick this up to the FBI quickly and/or start getting search warrants and subpoenas. We need this done in order to stop this from happening in other states.

Local News in Nashville Area

One of our PMAA Parents and her son, did a local news interview in Nashville. You can view it at:


Information on Class Action Suit and Bankruptcy from a Lawyer

At this point (pre bankruptcy filing) there isn't much we can do. Someone will consult a lawyer and post the information, the lawyer will want the names/addresses/information from any person who may want to join in the action against the company and/or the owner.

In this type of fraud situation there is usually some money still in the company of value, the question is how long it takes to get out to claimants, and how much money there is for distribution. Generally speaking, when the company/owner file for bankruptcy, they have to file a list of creditors. This will include all employees who are owed money, and presumably all parents who feel they are owed a refund.

The bankruptcy court will mail a notice to all potential claimants. You can then choose to file a claim, describing what you are owed. You should create a file containing your salary and employment information, and calculate now as closely as possible how much you are owed. The bankruptcy court will also name a trustee for the bankrupt person's property. Bankruptcy is very powerful because it automatically stops any claims against the company -- you can't prosecute a law suit, attempt to collect a judgment or seize assets. The trustee will locate assets, sell assets if necessary, identify claims against the bankrupt party (the "debtor"), notify potential claimants, evaluate their claims, and ultimately, after court approval, distribute any assets.

The trustee can also seek to void and reverse any payment made by the debtor in the 90 days prior to the filing as preferential transfers -- this could be a big part of the recovery. The debtors assets are distributed to claimants in a very specific order -- the lawyers eat first, then priority and secured creditors (priority creditors include employees, tax liens, child support, secured creditors loaned the debtor money secured by a promise to some assets), then unsecured creditors (generally people like me who have a potential legal action against the company).

In some business bankruptcies there are no assets to distribute, in others there is enough to pay only priority claims, in others the unsecured creditors get a little bit. We don't know anything in this case other than (1) the company got a lot of a cash, (2) it probably has little in the way of fixed assets to sell to pay creditors (used office furniture has little value -- it doesn't have any factories with real equipment to sell); (3) it probably has little in the way of intangible assets of interest to anyone (trade names, client lists, good will).

One thing in our favor is that there are enough parents, presumably some with a little money, to pay some lawyers to take a look at a lawsuit. That is where it gets interesting. If there is a legitimate fraud claim against the owner, the claimants can ask the bankruptcy court to let them file a separate action against the owner, and any recovery will go to the claimants. In that case a suit against the owner may go after his house, cars, boats, etc (depending on the state) so that there are a few more dollars at the end of the day.

Remember that I said that lawyers eat first. They have the highest priority, and their fees will come off the top of any recovery and distribution of assets -- they did the work to get it, and without them there would be nothing. This entire process will take not less than a year, probably two, before money is distributed. If there are lawsuits to recover preferential transfers, or actions exempted from the bankruptcy proceeding, it could take longer.

Because of this I recommend that you, and everyone else, make a file that includes (1) evidence of what you paid/are owed; (2) any documents supporting that claim; (3) any documents reflecting the services provided by PMAA, and any written representations by them; (4) write down any oral promises and what happened; (5) print any emails related to this and preserve any written records. A class action lawyer and a bankruptcy lawyer need to be consulted.

(Note from blogspot: Law Enforcement will most likely need the above-referenced records as well, so it is best to have a copy of your contract, a copy of the check you used to pay, a copy of the credit card transaction on your statement, any information about fraud claims that were submitted to your credit card company, printed copies of e-mails sent to parents, any contact information of who you spoke to at PMAA and why; and any other pertinent information.)

Seattle Investigative Report

In Seattle on Friday, May 30th, 2008, our local ABC Affiliate ran the following story:


There is a clip of the video if you want to watch it.

Families scammed out of fortune, dreams of fame
Story Published: May 30, 2008 at 8:23 PM PDT
Story Updated: May 30, 2008 at 11:52 PM PDT
KOMO Staff
Watch the story

TACOMA, Wash. -- Parents who paid thousands of dollars for acting and modeling classes for their children learned on Friday that they'd been swindled out of a fortune by people who falsely promised to lead their kids on a road to fame.

Acting school is canceled, dreams are dashed and the money is gone.Parents of Kaila and Zachary Edwards forked over nearly $5,000 they didn't have to Pacific Modeling and Acting Academy to fuel their children's dreams.

"I want to be famous and be on Hanna Montana," said 7-year-old Kaila."Become an actor, go famous," said Zachary.But on Friday their dreams hit a major block.

The modeling and acting school, which just opened last February, shut down after declaring bankruptcy. The nearly 200 families that had enrolled were left stunned."We invested," said parent David Winkler. "We invested our heart,s our love and it got shattered."The academy operated out of the Sheraton Hotel with teachers and big flat-screen TVs in each room. Kids were filmed rehearsing commercials, and parents say the whole thing seemed like the road to making it big.

"(They said) 'you're going to LA for interviews - get your resume ready and your photos - and you're going to meet these agents.' And it all never happened," said Dennis Oswalt.Oswalt spent $6,700 on photos and classes after his 6 year old got a call back. Daniel was among the chosen children. Now he's one of the disappointed."He's heart broken," his father said."It was so abrupt, so sudden. I got the call.

'No more classes, families won't get paid, employees won't get paid because the company filed for bankruptcy," said former employee Tatevik Aprikyan.

Dolores Rawlins wrote a huge credit card check to fund her daughter's dreams."Nearly $12, 000. Crazy, I know, but I thought it was their future," she said.But her daughter's aspirations would have to wait. The next day Rawlins had a gut feeling that made her cancel the check."The biggest red flag was when I went to see where they were located there wasn't anything there," she said.The space never opened and classes continued at the hotel. Rawlins got her money back but the others don't know if they'll be as lucky.

They're filing complaints with the Attorney General's Office."It's over a million dollars they took from everybody. That's a lot of money," Oswalt said.The company owner in California did not return KOMO's calls. A former employee says her bankrupt boss recently opened nine more modeling and acting schools across the country with the average family paying $5,000 to enroll.

News from Tampa

Wannabe Child Stars Get Cold Introduction To Show Business
Tampa Bay Online
updated 10:50 a.m. PT, Sun., June. 1, 2008


TAMPA - Brimming with anticipation, the would-be child actors and models went to the Tampa Convention Center on Saturday for a chance at stardom and to work side by side with their favorite TV stars. Their parents had paid a company called Pacific Modeling & Acting Academy several thousands of dollars to enroll their preteen children in a series of 12 classes that were to begin at 9 a.m. and run for six months.

But when about a dozen parents and their children showed up, there were no classes. Nor was there anyone from Pacific Modeling & Acting to meet them or to offer an explanation or a refund.
"These kids have been anticipating that this is going to be something really neat for them, a starting point," said Charisse Chateauvert, who made the trip from Sarasota with her son Ross, 8. "The kids are crying, but they're all behaving very well for what's going on around them."

The parents said they paid anywhere from $2,450 to nearly $9,000 for their children to attend the classes, from commercial acting to monologue and audition techniques to print and high-fashion runway modeling.

'We Did Our Homework'

Now they are wondering if they will see any of the money they paid. Their repeated attempts to contact representatives with Pacific Modeling & Acting Academy, which lists offices in California and Washington state, have been unsuccessful. One parent said she was told by convention center workers that Pacific Modeling & Acting had been bought out by another company that did not schedule the space for the classes.

Several parents said their children saw or heard advertisements for the classes in fliers, on television or on the radio. "One of the pull-ins was you would get an opportunity to perform with Hannah Montana," said Lynda Reyes of Tampa, who enrolled her 11-year-old daughter, Jerika. "That's the way they were putting it. She actually thought she was going to do a commercial with Hannah Montana. "You're talking about children who are heartbroken now, that feel they can't trust adults," Reyes said.

Some parents said that although they had reservations about paying so much money upfront, the company appeared legitimate, based on its Web site, which appeared professional and up to date, and their own research. "I thought we did our homework," said Steve Williams of Riverview, who paid $8,900 to enroll his 13-year-old son, Kevin, for a combined acting and modeling program.
Williams said he and his wife, Linda, later changed their minds and sent a certified letter to Pacific Modeling & Acting Academy asking for a refund. He provided copies of the April 23 letter and the April 20 agreement, which said a client could cancel it for any reason within 72 hours. He never got a response.

Innocent Verneuil of Winter Haven also paid for $8,900 worth of classes for his 10-year-old daughter, Jessica. "I wanted to appear with that girl in iCarly," she said. "I was hoping I would have a nice career in acting and modeling and help out with the family bills."

Financing 'Failed To Materialize'

Representatives with Pacific Modeling & Acting Academy, which lists a Santa Clara, Calif., address on one of its forms, could not be reached for comment Saturday. One mother provided the Tribune with a copy of an e-mail received from Pacific Modeling & Acting on Friday. It stated that the company "is ceasing operations at this time, and classes are canceled."

"Unfortunately, our attempts to secure outside financing necessary to continue ongoing operations have failed to materialize," the e-mail said. "We have exhausted all of our options for traditional financing and outside investors and therefore, effective immediately, we are having to close our doors."

The e-mail said the company is considering filing for bankruptcy and that if it does, clients will be notified. URL:

News from Nashville

Hello all,

Krissi here in Nashville. I have a call in to the FBI here and am waiting a call back. I have however some good news for us is that I disputed the charge on my credit card and I am getting the amount refunded back to my card. Even though I don't have to pay the $6900.00 I still want to stop these people from doing this to others. My son is so upset and I hate the thought of what other kids are feeling. I just posted my complaint on the IC3 website you gave so please just keep us all posted.

Thanks for all your help!

News from Seattle

Bellevue Washington PD has given us a case # 08-5892 . Their non emergency # is (425) 452-6917 - For all of you out of state, you can give this case # to your local authorities, as well as any FBI agents you are in contact with, for linking with our investigation.

Our officer assigned to our case is Officer Carlson, but he is within 1 hour of turning over all his efforts to Detectives. He has reason to believe that the detectives will be doing more research to the criminal/fraud end... as of now, they are still considering it a "civil" case, (for us here in Washington)

Officer Carlson encourages us to go to
www.ic3.gov as well and fill out the internet portion, paperwork,as it will help tie us all together. We are still looking for a law firm to accept our case...If anyone has access, I would love to help talk to them...

If anyone wants to talk to me, my # is 360/561-7094

BTW we have an industry advocate that has contacted us and I am working closely with them, they have already provided us with important information and documentation. She also has contacted Officer Carlson on our behalf.... seems PMAA folks pirated some of there advertisements, as donors/participants in a fundraising effort... Doesn't that suprise all of you..

If anyone has any updates from your contacts with your own local law enforcment or FBI we can all benefit from sharing....

Thank you all....

Mark & Linda

News from San Diego

Info to all FAMILIES:

I reported our case to the local FBI here in San Diego, and they are on the process of looking in to it. Also, they recommended that we all can report this case through there Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) @ www.ic3.gov as a concerted reporting from all of us.

News from New Mexico

Aspiring Child Actors, Parents, Educators Conned by Unscrupulous Business

I'm posting the below press release/statement on behalf of one of my dearest friends, Debra Miller. If you care about the arts community in this town, please read on.

---Parents and arts educators in New Mexico have been duped into participating in a program claiming to teach commercial acting skills to young people. A web search of the company responsible very quickly turns up descriptions of this same pattern of events in several other states over the last few months. This program was run by an international commercial chain doing business world-wide under a number of names, some more widely known than others. Thursday, May 22nd, teachers were informed by e-mail that the school in New Mexico, only two months old, would be closed effective immediately, and that parents would be informed of this closure. As of Saturday, May 24th, at least two sets of parents and possibly more have not yet been contacted about the school’s closure, and the teachers have not been paid for their services.This program was marketed as “Pacific Modeling and Acting Academy” (PMAA). Tuition for this program ranges from $2,000-$5000 per child, due in advance. The parents who signed their children up for this program are out the cost of their tuition.
Over the course of Friday afternoon (May 24th), at least 3 contact phone numbers for this agency were disconnected, and messages left at the remaining contact number have not been returned.New Mexico’s fledgling film industry is a potential target for scams. Also, parents of the children who were involved in this program may be less likely to involve their children in the arts in the future. As a result, both the children in this state and the arts community as a whole will suffer if this is not investigated as soon as possible. There are many legitimate and trustworthy organizations that offer excellent arts programs, and any hint of deceit on the part of companies who do not take responsibility for their actions hurts us all.

Please see below for my summary of the events for this story (I am Debra Miller). Please feel free to contact me at any time for further information. Other teachers and parents involved are also willing to speak with you, including Charles Bedford, a parent of two children involved in the program, who lost $10,000 to this organization.
Darren Dunbar, another teacher, is also available to comment. Our contact information is below.

Thank you for your time, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Debra Miller, Educator
(505) 205-XXXX Blocked from public view
Darron Dunbar, Educator
(214) 563-XXXX Blocked from public view
Charles Bedford, Parent
(505) 215-XXXX Blocked from public view

Summary of events:

In April of this year, I answered an ad on Craigslist offering teaching positions for a “private performing arts program for young adults”. The ad has since been taken down, but the original posting number was job-633882058, and someone at Craiglist may be able to retrieve the information if requested.

An ad that is nearly identical in much of the wording to the Craigslist ad for PMAA is currently available at the following link (see below). This link is for John Robert Powers services:http://www.gigslist.org/index.php?name=News&file=article&si...

I was interviewed by a young woman named Benay. This is the same name listed as a contact in the above ad. In my interview, I was told that this school, the Pacific Modeling and Acting Academy, was a national commercial firm specializing in training young people to act for the camera, and that they hoped to start a regular school here once they’d had a chance to become established. In the interview, I specifically asked Benay if PMAA was in any way affiliated with John Robert Powers, and I was told that PMAA was not part of John Robert Powers.

At the end of a lengthy interview (just over an hour), I was told that I would be hired.The first class session was scheduled for April 16th & 17th at the Double Tree Hotel downtown. I was told that the Academy was hoping to start a permanent base here to work with the movie industry, but that until they were more established, this is where they would be operating from for the time being, and that the site director and an assistant would fly into town for each session.The first session went well, and this seemed like good teaching position. The second session, May 17th & 18th, also seemed to go well, though it was a little disorganized; the site director did not come in but sent her assistant instead.Thursday, May 22nd, I and the other teachers received the following e-mail:

===================================Dear PACIFIC Teacher,We are writing to inform you that, unfortunately, PACIFIC Modeling and Acting Academy is ceasing operations at this time. Although we believe we offered an excellent product and are very happy with the work of our teachers, this is not always sufficient to maintain a successful business.

PACIFIC is contacting all students and clients to discuss this issue with them, and to help them continue with their acting and modeling educational goals. We will be taking whatever steps are possible to assist them.Because PACIFIC classes are cancelled at this time, we regret that your services as a teacher are no longer required.We have established a single point of contact for inquiries. Your school director will not be available to answer questions.

Please email us at info@pacmodact.com and indicate your location and “EDUCATION” in the subject line. Or, call (408) 340-4184. We are happy to provide references: please make those requests using this contact information.We do wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, and are sorry that we are not able to continue working with you.

Thanks for your attention,PACIFIC Education Departmentinfo@pacmodact.com(408) 340-4184===================================

May 22nd was also the night that automatic payments for our last session were to have been posted to our accounts. No payment was posted. I sent an e-mail to the supplied address above requesting information about being paid, and received no response.

Friday, May 23rd, I contacted the local television stations here in town to talk to them about this as a potential news item. I was still reserving judgment on whether it might be a scam, but I felt that this was news worthy as a public awareness piece to parents. Albuquerque’s growing movie industry is likely going to bring more ‘businesses’ to town that will try to capitalize on this, and as an educator, I want to make sure that New Mexicans are aware of possible fraud. Also, the arts industry is already suffering in our current economy, and people involved in our profession are invested in making sure that children are given opportunities to participate in the arts.

This kind of thing understandably makes parents less likely to get their kids involved. This is a black eye to the industry, and it’s simply unacceptable, because the kids are the ones who ultimately lose when this kind of thing happens.It wasn’t until several hours after I contacted the TV stations that I finally received a phone call from Benay. She told me that she and the other full-time employees of the Academy weren’t paid for this last month, and that parents weren’t going to be refunded for their tuition. She seemed very upset and said that she was making these phone calls to the teachers because she felt very badly about the situation, and that as a result, she was going to have to move back home and live with her parents. I felt badly for her, and thanked her for taking time to contact me.

Shortly after this, one of the other teachers e-mailed me and requested that I call Benay back in order to ask her a question. I redialed the number from my cell phone. The person who answered the phone was not Benay, and the woman who answered said “John Robert Powers, how may I direct your call?”I left a message for Benay but did not receive a response. I now believe that we were duped into a scam, again because I asked very directly whether this Academy was a branch of John Robert Powers and was told directly that it was not.

Because Benay called me from a number that was answered “John Robert Powers” – that phone number is (480) 626-4888 – I believe that we were lied to intentionally. This number was active as of 12:00pm on May 23rd, when I received the call from Benay, and it was still active when I called her back at 12:44pm. Both of these calls are documented in my cell phone’s call log. This number was disconnected as of 3:30pm that same day.

A google search of “John Robert Powers” brings up a link on the first page to a website called “Pissed Consumer”. The comments posted below the entry for John Robert Powers indicate that this company has been in the process of shutting down for the last several months. This appears to again to substantiate a case of fraud on the part of this company: http://john-robert-powers.pissedconsumer.com/

There are many, many other pages immediately following this with complaints from parents across the country, describing the exact same situation as occurred here happening over the last several months. People are being duped, and this needs to be stopped.I believe that it is important that this story be investigated and reported on as soon as possible.

Please feel free to contact me at any time for further information. The other teachers and parents involved are also willing to speak with you.Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,Debra Miller, Educator
Cell: (505) 205-XXXX Blocked from Public View
E-mail: ephemeralarts@yahoo.com

Friday, May 30, 2008


One of our parents, Kim M., was able to reach Timothy Leung, the professional photographer this afternoon and spoke with him live. He severed his contract with PMAA 3 weeks ago because of PMAA's flaky behavior. Timothy said that all of the images of all of the kids are at PMAA and he has been trying for a week or so to get in touch with them and they haven't returned messages or answered the phone. Timothy DOES NOT HAVE ANY DIGITAL IMAGES OF OUR CHILDREN. So that means PMAA does and they can use them if they choose to or sell them. I think we need a game plan to figure out how to get those images back. The last think we want is our child's face on a porn picture. If any one has good contact info for Anna in Photography, we should try to pursue. We also need to make sure that Law Enforcement knows that we want those images.

PMAA Contacts


If you have any contact information for PMAA people that you have spoken with (other than Tatevik) or have contact information for, please post it here.

Letter from PMAA Corporate

This was just sent out today by Pacific Modeling and Acting Academy:

Dear PACIFIC Client,

We are writing to inform you that, unfortunately, Pacific Modeling and Acting Academy is ceasing operations at this time, and classes are cancelled. Although we believe we offer an excellent product, this is not always sufficient to maintain a successful business.

Unfortunately, our attempts to secure outside financing necessary to continue ongoing operations have failed to materialize. We have exhausted all of our options for traditional financing and outside investors and therefore, effective immediately, we are having to close our doors as the outside financing was critical to continuing to provide services.
Bankruptcy is under consideration at this time. In the event bankruptcy is filed, you will receive notification. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you for your attention,
Pacific Modeling and Acting Academy

Clearly there are no bankruptcy filings, so we really need to go after them for fraud.

Attorney General Complaint Information

This morning I called the Attorney General's Office and found out that to file a complaint, we need to call this group:

Consumer Resource Center for the Attorney General's Office


Press "0" when recording starts
Open 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

I called and spoke with the woman at the AG's office and she said to file a complaint on-line at this web site:


And I did just that. She said that each of us should file our own seperate complaints and that if we filed them today they would be input into the syste on Monday. Attachments can't be sent electronically, but we can deliver them to their office in the Bank of America center on 5th Street in Seattle.

Here is the information I put in my complaint:

Pacific Modeling and Acting Academy came to Seattle in February, 2008. All of their documentation indicated that they were new to the Seattle area but had been in business in California. They offered acting and modeling classes that seemed well-developed and well prepared.

They didn't have any complaints with the Better Business Bureau. They had four programs ranging price from $2900 to $9900 and the programs were either 6 months or 1 year. I signed my daughter up for a 1 year program for $7900 and was required to pay upfront.

Classes were to start in March at the Seattle location, but we received an e-mail indicating that the building was not ready and as an interim facility, the Bellevue Sheraton would be used. The classes in March, April and May took place but we received an e-mail yesterday, May 30th at 5:17 p.m. that PMAA had filed for bankruptcy and was out of business.

The owner of the business was disclosed as Stanley Robinson, and I searched for his name and discovered that he had basically pulled the same scam with a John Robert Powers franchise in Santa Clara, California. At that point, I called the Modeling Teacher who was also the Receptionist and Class coordinator and she was very upset and told me that she felt basically this had been a scam. Her name is Tatevik Aprikyan and she is very willing to help in any investigation and ultimately, help seek justice. Tatevik has the records of all of the familes that signed up, which program they signed up for and to provide any information about the organizational structure that she can.

A rough estimate that Tatevik and I developed is that PMAA collected up front over $1.5M from parents and spent less than $200K, so the bankruptcy looks very suspicious to say the least.

The AG's office will accept paper filings in person and I plan on bringing as much documentation as I can get my hands on, to them on Monday, June 2, 2008.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Parent Contact Information - Post Here

Please list your name, your child's name and an e-mail address where the authorities or other familes can reach you. Please do not post pictures, telephone numbers or street addresses as this information is public and anyone has access to it.

PMAA Bankruptcy

I wanted to start a blog for the parents and students as well as the PMAA Staff who were victimized by the fraud perpetuated by Stanley Robinson. First, it appears that PMAA was a pre-planned fraudulent scam. The lack of the permanent facility in Seattle, the unannounced bankruptcy after 3 months in service, and the fact that there have been no corporate communications from PMAA to date. Bless Tatevik for taking the iniative to enlighten those of us who were left in the dark by this scam artist, the owner of PMAA Stanley Robinson. I first learned of trouble when Tatevik sent her message at 5:17 p.m. today informing parents of what has transpired and providing the little information that she had.

When I received the e-mail, I googled Stanley Robinson and PMAA and found this link:


It appears that what Stanley Robinson did with a John Robert Powers (JRP) franchise, he turned around and did with PMAA. Now I believe that intentionally taking money, and contracting to provide a service that you have no intention of fulfilling would be fraudulent and I am hopeful that the Attorney Generals for the States that housed the respective schools would be inundated with complaints in such a way that they would have to investigate. From this web site we know that this happened to a JRP in California and to PMAA in New Mexico and now PMAA in Seattle. I am sure that all of the other schools have been closed as that is the information that was given to Tatevik.

For those parents in the Seattle Area, please call the Attorney General and lodge a complaint. Here is their information in Seattle:

Attorney General's Office
8900 5th Ave NE
# 2000
Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 464-7744

It is also important to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and that can be done at this link:


I am hoping that out of the 300 families in Seattle, that one parent is an attorney and can post information about what can be done and how it should be done to try and recoup any monies spent. I paid for tuition on my Visa, so I plan on calling Visa tomorrow to find out if they can assist me with any recourse. I encourage other parents to do the same and post any other information that they find out or remember to this web site. When the Attorney General investigates a fraud case, they are going to need as much information as possible.

That is one of the reasons I established this blog. First, parents can share helpful tips with each other. Second, the data that is posted to the blog can be used in the investigation. So it would be helpful to try and remember as much as you can about what you were told, how much you paid, how and when you paid, how you heard about the bankruptcy, and any one's name and phone number that you have.

I did go in and capture screen shots of the PMAA web site including the page Highlighting Mario Lopez and his celebrity workshop. I will try contacting his agent to see if he ever did a workshop for PMAA or JRP. All evidentary items in building a case of fraud. If you have any cell phone numbers of people who signed you up, any thoughts or activities or conversations that made you suspicious or any information that you want to share, this is the place to post it. Tell your story, it may be the only thing that keeps this from happening to others, and it may be the only way to stop this guy from doing this again.