KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Kansas City wedding planner is accused of not providing services he had promised to couples, including not even showing up at some weddings.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced Thursday that he had charged 29-year-old Mario Antoine with 10 felony counts of stealing by deceit and unlawful merchandising practices.
Antoine and his company, Imagine Photo KC, are accused of not delivering on promises to Kansas City-area couples to provide such services as photographs, limousines and disc jockeys. Prosecutors say he either didn't show up at the weddings or didn't provide all the services -- and then refused to provide refunds.
Chyleina and Cory Herron hired Antoine for their wedding in Aug. 2011, but a few months before, Antoine disappeared.
"All of a sudden he was just gone," Chyleina said. "His phone number was disconnected. I was freaking out."
She said she'd already gave Antoine a $1,000 deposit, and when she tried to get a refund, Antoine ignored her.
"That wasn't an option either. He only responded when it was convenient for him, and he would kind of just brush me off," Chyleina said. "I remember at one point he said: 'I'm bankrupt. That's it.'"
The Herrons were able to hire a replacement photographer but have never seen their deposit. They hope the charges will help keep Antoine from doing business with other couples.
"Just knowing that he's not out doing it to more people makes me feel a lot better," Chyleina said. "I remember that's one of the first things I thought, 'We've got to figure out how to tell these other brides.'"
Antoine's bond is set at $25,000. Online court records do not indicate if Antoine has an attorney.