September 9, 2013
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster announced today that a Jackson County jury has returned guilty verdicts on multiple felony counts and has recommended prison time for Mario A. Antoine. Antoine and his company, Imagine Photo KC, took thousands of dollars in advance payments from Kansas City area couples to photograph their weddings and provide other wedding related services, such as limousines and DJs. However, on the day of their weddings, Antoine either failed to appear or did not provide promised services. When many of the victims sought out Antoine for refunds, he refused to provide them. Koster charged Antoine with multiple felony counts of stealing by deceit and unlawful merchandising practices.
"This defendant stole thousands of dollars from unsuspecting couples," said Koster. "His criminal conduct turned what should have been a joyous occasion into a horror story. All Missourians have a right to expect that the vendors they deal with will treat them fairly and honestly."
On Friday, September 6, 2013 jurors found Antoine guilty of nine felonies: four counts of the Class C felony of stealing by deceit, and five counts of the Class D felony of unlawful merchandising practices. The jurors recommended Antoine serve forty-five days in prison on each of the nine felony counts and pay a fine. Formal sentencing by Judge Robert Schieber will occur at a later date. In addition to prison time, Antoine is facing up to $20,000 in fines on each count. Assistant Attorneys General Joshua Jones and John Grantham represented the state of Missouri in the case.
Koster reminds Missourians seeking wedding services to exercise caution when asked to make any up-front payments. Consumers should seek recommendations, check references, and get everything in writing before paying for anything in advance. Missourians can check for complaints against specific businesses with the Attorney General's office or with their local Better Business Bureau.