The Fokus-Foto Scam

Posted by candyposes on 19 Mar 2007 at 10:28 pm | Tagged as: Fokus-Foto

Last summer, when I first went full-time art modeling, I had a photographer in the Richmond, Virginia area- “Fokus-Foto”- stand me up without a word; it caused me to lose what on my budget is a good deal of money.

When he no-showed on me, I wrote an entry here about it. A couple of months later, I got an email from a girl who had shot with him- he left without giving her any money. When she went down to the police station to report it, they knew of him. Basically, he’s a scam- he either stands you up or takes photos of you and then doesn’t pay you.

He goes through different venues to find models and do this to them; when I noticed that a model on myspace was scheduled to shoot with him, I wrote her to warn her.  She never wrote me back.

That was, until yesterday, when he did the same thing to her.  She also lost money- twice the amount that I did, and it appears that she’s on a budget similar to my own.

When it happened to me, I was pissed.  I posted his phone number and email in this blog.  Later, I felt bad- like I had sunk down to his level, and that I should just get on with things and be the better person.  I removed the personal information about him I had revealed.  At the time, however, I did not know the extent of this scam.

This blog is fairly popular; it’s big enough to be found if you google certain phrases or words.  Now it can be found by the phrase Fokus-Foto.

The photographer’s name is Jim, and he goes by “Fokus-Foto,” among other names.  Models, if you are contacted by him, do not shoot with him.  He’s located near Richmond, Virginia.

He’s good.  He knows the names of the local models and is familiar with various photographers.  He might mention a place where is work is shown, or something else that makes him seem legitimate.  He will be in contact with you by phone and email right up until the very second he no-shows on you; if he shows and takes your photos, he will appear to be the real deal.  But he’ll scram without giving you any money.

If you are contacted by someone who might be this guy, ask for him to put down a deposit or pay for your train ticket and/or hotel room ahead of time.  Ask for the phone numbers, not just emails, of references.

There’s nothing I can really do about it; the money I spent last summer is gone.  I just don’t want it to happen to another person.




David Le Beck, January 2007.

3 Responses to “The Fokus-Foto Scam”

  1. on 20 Mar 2007 at 5:56 am Moraxian

    I’ve heard about this guy from a number of other models who have been duped by him. I know he has managed to rip off a number of ladies who come to Richmond on their own dime. He photos them in their hotel room, and then says he’s going to more of the shoot at his studio.

    He tells the ladies he’s going to bring his stuff down to his car, and then come back up and help with the ladies’ bags… only he never comes back.

    To also get models to pay attention, he says he’s shot with some famous names (Julie Simone for one). I’ve known Julie for years (My wife and I are friends of Julie’s) and she’s never worked with him. She was scheduled to fly east to work with him, but she cancelled because of a bad vibe she got from him. A good call on her part.

    I know Doug L. at Restrained Photo has heard of this guy and I recommend anyone who books with a photographer in the Richmond area talk to Doug first to get the lowdown on folks there (he seems to know a lot of folks).

    The cops in Richmond don’t seem to want to deal with this situation, not because it isn’t a crime, but because, to them, it’s a minor crime. Unfortunately, the number of victims keeps growing and they seem to be ignoring the problem…

  2. on 20 Mar 2007 at 10:09 am candyposes

    Moraxian- I don’t like to bring it up a lot because I just feel so stupid about falling for it; I can only imagine how the other model felt when she went despite my warning and was stood up.

    Another thing is that no one wants to say to people like the police, “I was going to/did shoot with a photographer from online naked.”

    I started a thread on MM about exposing a scam, but I didn’t recieve a good deal of helpful feedback.

    It makes sense to ask Doug for advice; he’s a great guy.

  3. on 28 Mar 2007 at 3:33 pm Jin

    Can you please e-mail me more about this scam. It happened to me today and I’m going to try to get him for it. I drove 6 hours today because I showed up and waited in the hallway for him. I called his cell phone and he said it was the wrong number and he wasn’t Jim. Anyway…more happened but I don’t want to post all the details. Please e-mail me. . Thanks.

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