Mon, September 15, 2003
I wanted to include this article as part of the documentation of this huge rip-off.
Internet site to keep operating
A federal judge said she doesn't have jurisdiction in a case brought by a Lou Pearlman company.
By Tim Barker | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted September 13, 2003
Lou Pearlman's Wilhelmina Scouting Network has suffered a setback in its bid to shut down a Web site that warns consumers to stay away from his Internet-based model-scouting company.
A lawsuit against Badbusinessbureau, filed in federal court in Orlando, was dismissed by Judge Anne Conway, who ruled that she did not have jurisdiction.
Ed Magedson, the Web site's creator, said the legal maneuvering by Wilhelmina was little more than an effort to silence a critic.
"They knew they didn't have jurisdiction. They just wanted to cost us money," Magedson said. "They have in-house lawyers who pump out these boilerplate lawsuits."
Wilhelmina officials could not be reached for comment.
It isn't known whether the company will pursue the lawsuit elsewhere.
"If they do, it would be absolutely ridiculous. It would just draw more negative publicity for themselves," said Frank Torelli, an investigator for the Web site who also was named in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleged trademark infringement, unfair competition and defamation.
Badbusinessbureau operates the ripoffreport, which includes scathing commentary about Pearlman's company, known both as Trans Continental Talent and Wilhelmina Scouting Network.
The lawsuit asked the court to prohibit the Web site from using the Trans Continental name anywhere on its pages.
"Defendants, by improperly using this trademark, are misleading the public into believing that their services are connected with" Trans Continental Talent, according to the lawsuit.
The suit also alleged that there are numerous false statements published on the site.
Web sites like this have long been a source of irritation for the company, which has said "slanderous Internet postings" are one of the reasons for its problems with customers. Such sites have convinced many customers that something could be wrong with the services sold by Wilhelmina/Trans Continental. The company puts would-be models on the Internet, where they have a chance of being seen by casting agents and modeling agencies.
The company has been under investigation for more than a year by the Florida Attorney General's Office, which has received some 1,300 complaints from consumers. Among other things, customers have complained they were misled with promises that work in the fashion industry would be easy to find.
The company says it makes no such promises.
Tim Barker can be reached at [email protected] or 407-420-5022.
Copyright 2003, Orlando Sentinel
I have been watching those who have been writing about being victimized by this scam because I am relative of another kind of victim; those who have the misfortune of developing relationships with these horrible people.
My nephew was abused by Michael El-Difrawi, who I understand now goes by the name of Alec Defrawy. He attacked my nephew about 13 years ago. He was only 4 years old at the time. Michael hit him in the stomach and scared him so badly that he messed his pants, which is not unusual for a grown-up. Michael was not even supposed to be around him either.
CLICK HERE: To see the two charges filed against Alec Defrawy.
CLICK HERE: To see Alec modus operandi when faced with a legal complaint; register as an indigent. Then