Thursday, April 19, 2007

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Attorney General Abbott Takes Action Against Fraudulent Acting School

AUSTIN –Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has taken legal action to stop the owner of fraudulent “career schools” from misleading aspiring actors seeking professional Screen Actor’s Guild agents.

According to a petition filed in Travis County District Court, Will Boroski of Round Rock operated The Actor’s Place and its affiliated Web site without obtaining a certificate from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and without legally mandated security bonds. Court documents charge Boroski and The Actor’s Place with unlawfully operating an unlicensed acting career school. The Attorney General also seeks a halt to the fraudulent Boroski-backed “pilot season retreat” known as L.A. Summit Talent in Hollywood.

Media links
Attorney General's lawsuit against Actor's Place
Actor's Place news release: Grand Opening
Actor's Place news release: "Pilot Season Retreat"
Cease and Desist Order from the Texas Workforce Commission

“Texans will not tolerate deceptive schemes that swindle consumers,” said Attorney General Abbott. “The Office of Attorney General will aggressively pursue anyone who violates Texas’ consumer protection laws.”

The lawsuit alleges Boroski, who claimed a “100 percent success rate since 1998” in finding agents for clients, charged consumers $2,750 to attend his month-long L.A. Summit Talent retreat. This fee supposedly included a luxury apartment with fully furnished kitchen, a rental vehicle with a driver, and an onsite acting coach. He targeted parents with children as well, encouraging them to pay an extra $600 for upgraded private apartments.

Clients who paid Boroski this fee later complained that he did not deliver the services as advertised. Complainants reported that Boroski never led any acting classes at the retreat and said most scheduled classes were later canceled. Although Boroski claimed to have secured more than 400 auditions for clients in 2004-2005, former clients revealed that they did not receive any auditions despite their participation in the retreat.

The TWC held a formal agency hearing pertaining to Boroski’s conduct at The Actor’s Place and issued a cease and desist order to Boroski. He failed to appear at the hearing and ignored the order. The TWC then referred the case to the Attorney General.

The lawsuit, filed under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, seeks a court-ordered injunction stopping Boroski from operating a career school without the proper state certificate. The Attorney General also asked the court to order Boroski to provide restitution to harmed consumers, as well as to pay civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of the DTPA and $1,000 per day for violations of the Texas Career Schools and Colleges Act, which protects students.