Women say fake model scout tricked them into posing for him

Women say fake model scout tricked them into posing for him

PORTLAND, Ore. - Young women say a local man is prowling malls and coffee shops in the Portland area, claiming to be scouting for models.

KATU News spoke to six women who said Abby Gonzalez offered them modeling jobs.

Courtney Martzall has done some modeling on her own, but when Gonzalez approached her at the Bridgeport Starbucks with a new offer it sounded like a step up.

"He basically said, you know, I work with promotional companies and you're perfect," she told KATU News. "And he's like, 'I'm in a super big hurry, I never come to coffee shops, so it's crazy you catch me here.'"

But Martzall did not know that Gonzalez often comes to coffee shops on the hunt, according to other young women he's approached.

"I'm thinking this is the big time or this is a start," Martzall said. "I was, like, this could be my big break, you know, someone stopping me."

But her big break was a big disappointment.

KATU sent a young woman into a coffee shop undercover to meet with Gonzalez. He claimed to run a company called Polly Perfect Promotions. But there's no business by that name registered in the state. Additionally, the website is continually "under construction" and the listed phone number does not take calls.

He first tells the young women they will model sportswear, then bikinis, then lingerie. They will also do live club events wearing only underwear. And they can start right away, because he has a camera in the car.

KATU News confronted Gonzalez outside the coffee shop. He did not want to answer questions and stormed off, avoiding additional questions about his business and whether he had any legitimate reason for taking pictures of young women in lingerie.

Chantell Dawn, now 23 years old, said Gonzalez approached her two years ago at the Lloyd Center.

"(I had) stars in my eyes. I was excited to be promoting with him," she told KATU News.

She still has the pictures he took of her and other young women who thought they were working for his promotions company.

"None of us had done this before," she said. "We didn't know what we were getting into."

Dawn said he stayed in their fitting rooms with cell phone in hand.

"He just said, 'You know, you have a really nice stomach. Let's take your shirt off so I can take shots of it so I can send this to my photographer so we can make sure that such and such looks good on you or that, you know, it looks good from certain angles.'"

She said he got a shot of her in her bra and pushed other young women into topless pictures.

"He said, 'Well, if I don't get these test shots, you're not going to be able to shoot with these photographers, and we're not really going to be able to do anything,'" Dawn said.

But she was never paid. She said there were no promotional events and she does not know where those topless pictures went.

Dawn found a real agent and real work, but she said she worries Gonzalez will continue telling young women he can fulfill their dreams of modeling.

"It keeps me up at night sometimes still, because it's just so awful," she said. "I just want him to stop doing this to other girls. It's just so horrible."

Police say it's possible Gonzalez is using the topless pictures for a website. Is this illegal? It turns out it's a gray area. Police say it's not necessarily a crime to lie to someone to get them to take off their clothes for pictures that are then used for, say, a porn site.