A wedding photographer may be fined $80,000 and temporarily barred from doing business for allegedly scamming clients.
Earlier this year, Kansas-based wedding photographer Caitlyn Payne was accused of “scamming” couples by faking a family emergency and not turning up to take pictures on their big day.
The photographer, who runs the business CP Family Photography, has allegedly done this multiple times.
According to an exclusive report by KAKE News last week, the district attorney in Sedgwick County, Kansas has now accused Payne of engaging in “deceptive or unconscionable acts.”
In a civil complaint filed against Payne and CP Family Photography, the state is asking that the photographer pay a total of $80,000 in civil fines and penalties.
It states that Payne will be temporarily barred from engaging in consumer transactions until all restitution, costs, and fees are paid in full to the clients listed in the civil complaint.
A ‘Fake’ Car Crash
According to a previous investigation by KAKE News in April, Nick and Kirstie Steffen hired Payne as the photographer for their wedding in February. The couple had hired her months before after meeting Payne at a wedding expo.
However, on the day of their wedding, Nick says Payne called him in a panic. Payne told him that her daughter had been in a car crash and that she was not going to be able to shoot their ceremony in the afternoon.
Later, the couple was even more shocked when they allegedly discovered a post on Facebook that revealed that Payne was not at the hospital with her daughter who she claimed was in a car crash.
In photos supposedly posted on Facebook by the Derby Drama Club on February 18, Payne was seen at her daughter’s musical at Derby High School at the same time as the couple’s wedding.
It also appeared that the photographer had attended a retirement party that she helped to organize after the play.
Other couples also claimed that Payne was either a no-show, left their ceremony early, or did not get their photos in a timely matter — if at all.
Sedgwick Country’s Consumer Protection Division further alleges that Payne is violating the Kansas Consumer Protection Act by misrepresenting her work with deceptive advertising, specifically showing sample photographs taken by other photographers and passing them off as her own.
In court documents, Payne reportedly claimed that “fake photographs” she used promotionally were stock photos she paid for and uses for Facebook advertising. But investigators allegedly tracked down the photographer who actually took those pictures, and he said no one was allowed to use his photographs as their own.
Sedgwick County’s district attorney has asked for a jury trial in the case.
Image credits: Feature photo licensed via Depositphotos.