Wedding Photog Scammed Couples Out of $140K, Faces 70 Felony Charges


Wedding photography can be a rough business. And although the photographers have plenty to worry about (i.e. irate ministers and getting your gear stolen), clients would do well to be careful too, lest they get duped by con artists like New Jersey’s Michael De Rubeis.

According to CBS New York, De Rubeis, who also worked under the alias Michael Distasio, is accused of scamming tens of couples out of a total of nearly $140,000 — money he took without ever delivering the wedding photos the couples were promised.

De Rubeis turned himself in yesterday, and although he is out on bail, he faces some 70 felony charges according to News 12 Hudson Valley.

One couple who came forward to tell their story, Chris and Brenda Adams, say they paid De Rubeis 7 grand for photos and video they have yet to receive of their March 2012 wedding. “My husband’s grandmother was supposed to get an album, and she passed away in February,” Brenda told CBS. “I feel stupid and used, and … to this day, I still get sick over it.”

This isn’t the first time De Rubeis has been in trouble with the law over this very issue. A decade ago, he was banned from working as a photographer in New York after Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued him and his wife for defrauding 60 clients in much the same way.

(via Reddit)

  • Tyler Magee

    who charges 140k for a wedding……. WHO PAYS 140K FOR A WEDDING o.O

  • agour

    who doesn’t read past the headline……

  • Sean McCann

    tens of couples…

  • David Di Franco

    Someone didn’t read the article.

  • Thalenko Mirokov

    what did he thinks about his mugshot?

  • TheTwoof

    Even if just reading the title, it says “couples”. Brain power, Johnson!

  • Djalma Reis

    Try to read next time, Magee. It’s good for your brain.

  • Marcus Sudjojo

    7 grand for a wedding coverage ?!?! For 7 grand I’d deliver the promised album, throw in some poster sized pictures, shine their shoes, walk their dog, mow their lawn….

    Ok, maybe too far…..:)

  • Bill Binns

    I have seen so many of these stories, I just don’t get it. You have to wonder why the guy wouldn’t at least just fork over the SD cards with whatever he shot (I assume he at least showed up at the wedding). I mean, any idiot can show up with a D90 and a Sunbeam flash and spray and pray. Taking money and providing nothing will get you thrown in jail. Taking money and providing crappy photos will get you bad Yelp reviews.

    Being a salesman is the hardest part of being a wedding photographer. If you are skilled at getting people to sign on the dotted line and give you a check, you can be a succesfull wedding shooter regardless of your talent with a camera.

  • Dover


  • Matthew Kozovski

    7k was for photos and video…

  • Marcus Sudjojo

    I’d speculate that he did this on purpose, that is to scam people. My speculation:
    1. He can’t shoot/produce good pictures. Maybe his portfolio consists of pictures stolen from the net
    2. Like you said, he showed up at the wedding, shoot some pictures (and pretend to be busy), and then get as far away as he can from his client, pocketing their money
    3. This is not the first times he scam people. He even worked under different name/alias

    In other words, he’s not a bad photographer, he’s a great scam artist….

    But of course this is just my personal opinion, though….

  • Lisa O’Dwyer

    Agree! This is why is so important to watermark your photography. And if you are a prospective client, do your research and get an engagement shoot done with your wedding photographer

  • Thomas Casey

    I could understand somebody that operates purely on the net trying to get away with it but he had a studio. Anyway it’s only an allegation, he might have a perfectly reasonable explanation, like being abducted by aliens or similar.

  • Display_Name

    They paid $7000 for a wedding photog…

  • Display_Name

    He could have hired a second shooter or 2. Make them do most of the work. Showed up do shoot just the things he was comfortable shooting (details or candids) and then then who would have made $5000 out of a $7000. And he would have a legit business. He could event paid to have his pictures post processed.

  • Alfredito

    He must be in drugs or something like that…

  • Doggieman

    You FAILED my friend! HAHAHA

  • Neil

    7 grand is cheap for photography and videography. If you are a photographer then you must not be a very good one.

  • Aaron Bornfleth

    man, that guy must reeeeeealy hate post production

  • Jake

    This is why you ask for references…

  • Happy_Tinfoil_Cat

    What’s to stop a scammer from downloading other’s photos and marking them with his own watermark. A watermark proves nothing and often ruins the photo.

  • Vin Weathermon

    The story appears to indicate that he and someone did take photographs at each of these weddings; hard to believe that a guy would work that hard and then scam them. I would think that the studio gallery had to have had impressive wall prints and wedding albums or these people would not have paid that much. Seems like it is almost as much work as just doing the photography. And to go BACK to it after getting caught doing it already…so bizarre. Maybe it was drugs…

  • Steven Jodistiro

    You’re a failure.

  • Ginny T


  • johnny corcoran

    “A” Wedding? no, its 10 weddings!