Fashion models are suing a group of top modeling agencies claiming they have collectively lost up to $20 million because of the agencies’ fraudulent accounting methods.
The lead plaintiff in the case is Louisa Raske, a Brides magazine cover model. Her lawsuit claims, “Each of the modeling agencies has money in its accounts that rightfully belongs to models, that is being used by the modeling agencies and which has not been paid to models,” according to the New York Post.
The class-action lawsuit claims the models were provided inaccurate financial statements and that the agencies would continue to profit from selling their images to be used in ads without their knowledge, according to Courthouse News Service. They are accused of hiding the models’ funds and using the money for their own expenses, as well as not providing them with financial statements or breakdowns.
Among the modeling agencies sued are Wilhelmina Models, Ford Models, Trump Model Management, Elite Models Management, IMG Models, and DNA Model Management, along with advertising agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett Co., and cosmetics makers such as Revlon and Maybelline.
Raske claims the modeling agencies “commonly, without the knowledge of the models and or without legal authority or permission, either forge the models' signatures and/or execute documents as if the modeling agencies had contacted the models and had the legal authority to execute the documents.” The models typically sign contracts for three years with the modeling agencies entitling the agency to claim a 20 percent booking fee. Raske is also suing the agencies for breach of contract.