Ex-wedding photographer accused of tricking dozens of women into sex

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A former wedding photographer faces multiple charges after allegedly tricking dozens of women into having sex with him, then blackmailing them to ensure their silence.

Mario Antoine, of Raymore, Missouri, was indicted Monday before a federal grand jury on 21 counts. Antoine is  accused of luring dozens of Kansas City-area women to fake pornography auditions.

Antoine, 33, was the subject of multiple investigations by WDAF-TV for allegedly defrauding brides and grooms out of wedding photos and services, and, following a recent conviction, he served a jail term a judge ordered after he violated probation in late 2015.

The newest allegations against him claim that he posed as a talent manager, photographer and videographer for fake companies with names such as "Playboy Worldwide," "Playboy Asia," and "Dash Agency." Court papers say he claimed to manage private overseas porn websites, and, beginning in 2011, he auditioned victims, telling them he was scouting models for the fake websites.

A news release says that Antoine searched on Google for "rape by deception," "rape by deception Kansas," and "Illegal to trick girls into sleeping with you." He's said to have looked at law journals to investigate the criminal aspects of rape by fraud or deception.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says he promised to pay tens of thousands of dollars when victims agreed to contracts where they performed for modeling shoots and engaged in sexual activity, which he shot and recorded, but then never paid them. When they complained about the non-payments, he's accused of sending lewd images of the victims to their employers and significant others.

He's also accused of forging and falsifying documents, including tax forms and checks made out to other models, to make his operation appear real. The federal indictment says he would communicate with prospective victims online while using an alias, and used pictures of other victims that he shot as proof of legitimate photo shoots.

In one case where a victim wasn't paid for shoots between 2011 and 2012, he allegedly told the victim she could either pay him $9,000 in exchange for not selling or distributing the images, or she could have sex with him. The news release says the victim had sex with him in order to keep him from releasing the images.

In another case where a victim pressed him for payment, he allegedly sent nude images of her to her employer that he had recorded when they had sex.

Antoine faces 12 counts of wire fraud, two counts of cyberstalking, two counts of online enticement, two counts of making false statements to federal law enforcement agents, one count of obstructing justice, one count of extortion and one count of falsely registering a domain name.

He's in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Thursday. The U.S. Attorney's Office says this investigation is ongoing, and asks for other potential victims to contact the FBI at (816) 512-8200.

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