Forums > Photography Talk > FBI Called Me Today...

Photographer

Jake Garn

Posts: 3958

Salt Lake City, Utah, US

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12/23/09 EDIT- Just for all you legal experts out there with WILD imaginations here are some more details to put your over-active minds at ease. I would have provided these details earlier but I thought (and still think) they are un-necessary to the photography part of the photographers forum but I forgot how many law students we have on MM. :-)

This wasn't my first conversation with the police about this matter. They did not initially contact me, I contacted them because the model had given me specific information on what had occurred. In Utah there is a law on the books requiring you to report sexual abuse of a minor if it is reported to you directly by the victim or the perpetrator.  I wondered whether or not to report what she told me because I wasn't sure if what she said amounted to abuse but I didn't have to wonder long, a week later an arrest was made and at that time I contacted the police to share the information I had.  The abuse this girl suffered goes well beyond the photo shoots and the photographers I mentioned. She was a victim of several crimes and several people took advantage of her propensity to continually be a victim, unfortunately.
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00000000 - that is the FBI's number, according to my caller ID.  Why did they call?  Well the reason can be a good lesson for any photographer shooting girls of ANY age.  I did everything right, luckily, so the FBI was simply calling to find out what other photographers may have done wrong.

Early in November I photographed a 16 year old girl.  One week later an investigation was opened by the local police department (now turned over to the FBI) on reports that photographers had taken inappropriate photographs of her.  At least one person is already in jail and a couple others are being investigated.  Without giving personal details I will just say that the model in question (the 16 year old girl) may have led some of the other photographers to believe that she was over 18 and subsequently they took age inappropriate photos of her... whether they actually knew her age or not is something I don't know for sure.

When the FBI agent questioned me one of the first things he asked is if I knew how old she was, when I answered YES he seemed slightly surprised.  I went on to explain to him that she didn't volunteer the information, in fact, she kind of led me to believe that she was older at first, but when I let her know that I require a photo ID before the shoot proceeds she fessed up and told me her real age.

Fast forward two months later and she received legitimate permission from her parents and the shoot proceeded.  She has an amazingly exotic face and I loved the photos.  When I found out that an investigation was ensuing I became VERY glad that I did things by the book... a few other photographers are going to have to learn the lesson the hard way though.

Moral of the story.  Check photo IDs and verify ages for ANY style of shoot for any girl.  If they are under 18 I require a notarized copy of the model release with their parent's signatures.  These two things will ensure that you are protected in case something crazy happens.

For all of those that claim that you just don't shoot 'under-aged' girls it would behoove you to realize that the photographers in question most likely DID think they were shooting a girl over 18.

Dec 22 09 05:28 pm Link

Photographer

rp_photo

Posts: 42538

Houston, Texas, US

FWIW, I'm guessing that this has nothing to do with 2257, but instead involves established law concerning minors.

Dec 22 09 05:33 pm Link

Model

J E M

Posts: 901

San Francisco, California, US

WOW - thats scary...

...even scarier...i got a call from a 000-0000 number before. HMM....lol

Dec 22 09 05:36 pm Link

Photographer

White Lace Studios

Posts: 1719

Mesa, Arizona, US

Jake Garn wrote:
Moral of the story.  Check photo IDs and verify ages for ANY style of shoot for any girl.  If they are under 18 I require a notarized copy of the model release with their parent's signatures.  These two things will ensure that you are protected in case something crazy happens.

+1 - Always

I make a copy of the drivers license and stape it to the release and file it.

Dec 22 09 05:38 pm Link

Model

Lily Avengale

Posts: 762

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Damn thats scary.

I guess the photographers are at fault but, I'm feeling like the model should get punished too.
If she's leading people on that she is older then she is, I'd think that she would also have reprocussions. It is the photographers fault for not doing what you did (and bravo for what you did!) by getting id from her but, I feel that the model should be acting her age and not pretneding to be older to get 'dirty' work.

I dunno.. I'm glad for you! It's scary what people do out there though!

Dec 22 09 05:38 pm Link

Photographer

Naughty by Nature

Posts: 84

JEM model wrote:
WOW - thats scary...

...even scarier...i got a call from a 000-0000 number before. HMM....lol

The calls I get from 000-000-0000 are always from Blockbuster looking for an overdue movie.

Dec 22 09 05:42 pm Link

Photographer

Stephoto Photography

Posts: 19938

Amherst, Massachusetts, US

Want to know something worse? A model who is longer on MM wanted to shoot with me--- I was told by her and her mom she was 16. Guess how old she really was? 14! and HER MOM was the one who told her it was okay to lie! ALWAYS check ID before shooting ALWAYS. Had i seen that even for the non nude shoot we were planning on doing, I would have turned around and sent them both home.

not only that, but the only time they confessed to me (we never did set up a shoot) was for them to tell me they were being booted off MM, but to contact them at a different email address to set up a shoot. Neither of them could understand why the photographers objected to not being told about her real age ahead of time.

Dec 22 09 05:42 pm Link

Model

Viktoria

Posts: 9795

Bethpage, New York, US

good for you for going by the book!  sucks for the other guys though.  the girl screwed them royally, but they should've done what you did.  i am sure lots more photographers will be checking ids after this wink

Dec 22 09 05:46 pm Link

Model

Tasha vonBleu

Posts: 156

Chicago, Illinois, US

Great example of how it is VERY important to check ID's to verify age. There are those few models that are not so honest...what you did really saved your butt.

Dec 22 09 05:47 pm Link

Model

Michelle Genevieve

Posts: 958

Austin, Texas, US

I know a photog who did 5 years in the joint for ignoring this detail. I'm guessing that he didn't check ID, or more likely didn't even care. Good post! Hope people wake up and tend to this business.

Dec 22 09 05:49 pm Link

Photographer

27255

Posts: 689

San Diego, California, US

Dec 22 09 05:50 pm Link

Photographer

Odin Photo

Posts: 1459

Salt Lake City, Utah, US

Naughty by Nature wrote:

The calls I get from 000-000-0000 are always from Blockbuster looking for an overdue movie.

Wrong. Blockbuster turned you in to the FBI late movie rental task force. Get out, get out NOW! wink

Dec 22 09 05:50 pm Link

guide forum

Photographer

studio36uk

Posts: 22270

Tavai, Sigave, Wallis and Futuna

You know what I find disturbing? That you would discuss something like that with someone on the phone that calls you without previous arrangement and identifies them self as an FBI agent.

They could come to you; or you could go to see them; but either way you would have been better off not saying shit until and unless you physically saw their identification and badge.

[ring][ring][ring]Hello?

[on the other end] Hello, my name is Donald Duck and I am a Postal Inspector. I need to ask you some questions about a letter you mailed last month.

[you] Uh... you can come and see me or I can come and see you. Good bye. [click]

DUH!!!!

Studio36

Dec 22 09 05:50 pm Link

Photographer

Click Hamilton

Posts: 35340

San Diego, California, US

Things are weird here.

Let me ask some questions ...

1. Why did the FBI call you, rather than investigate you secretly and then raid you?

2. Why was it the FBI and not the local police?

3. If this was only November, how could they already have other photographers in jail, in that short of a period of time?

4. Who does anyone know who has ever taken the time and expense and interruption to have a model release notorized by a notary, and what would the notary be checking?

Dec 22 09 05:50 pm Link

Photographer

Cherrystone

Posts: 37169

Columbus, Ohio, US

studio36uk wrote:
You know what I find disturbing? That you would discuss something like that with someone on the phone that calls you without previous arrangement and identifies them self as an FBI agent.

They could come to you; or you could go to see them; but either way you would have been better off not saying shit until and unless you physically saw their identification and badge.

[ring][ring][ring]Hello?

[on the other end] Hello, my name is Donald Duck and I am a Postal Inspector. I need to ask you some questions about a letter you mailed last month.

[you] Uh... you can come and see me or I can come and see you. Good bye. [click]

DUH!!!!

Studio36

Law enforcement generally don't make phone calls of an investigative nature.

Dec 22 09 05:53 pm Link

Photographer

Odin Photo

Posts: 1459

Salt Lake City, Utah, US

Curious. Does anyone know of, or have experience with, getting a photo ID that was fake and had anything come out of that? Who is responsible? The model for misrepresentation or the photographer for not having a system of checks in place to verify the seemingly legitimate ID?

Dec 22 09 05:53 pm Link

guide forum

Photographer

studio36uk

Posts: 22270

Tavai, Sigave, Wallis and Futuna

Click Hamilton wrote:
Things are weird here.

There's one born every minute. This one was Jake's turn.

Studio36

Dec 22 09 05:53 pm Link

Photographer

Carle Photography

Posts: 9227

Oakland, California, US

I don't care if you call me up & tell me you are GOD, I don't answer questions to people who call me on the phone.

If you want any information about my clients you better show up at my door with identification.

(the local cops actually like my nudes)

Dec 22 09 05:54 pm Link

guide forum

Photographer

studio36uk

Posts: 22270

Tavai, Sigave, Wallis and Futuna

Cherrystone wrote:
Law enforcement generally don't make phone calls of an investigative nature.

EXACTLY my point.

Studio36

Dec 22 09 05:54 pm Link

Model

John Ujjjjjjj Xghp

Posts: 2298

Ķızıltepa, Navoi, Uzbekistan

Odin Photo wrote:
Curious. Does anyone know of, or have experience with, getting a photo ID that was fake and had anything come out of that? Who is responsible? The model for misrepresentation or the photographer for not having a system of checks in place to verify the seemingly legitimate ID?

I always wonder about that, too.

Dec 22 09 05:57 pm Link

Photographer

291

Posts: 11911

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, California, US

did you ask the agents why they were involved?  simply taking photographs of one at any age is not a fbi issue.  there must be federal violation for them to be involved.  if you weren't in breach of federal law, which age of consent is not, why did they wish to speak to you?

Dec 22 09 05:58 pm Link

Photographer

NewBoldPhoto

Posts: 4964

PORT MURRAY, New Jersey, US

Click Hamilton wrote:
Things are weird here.

Now there's an understatement.

Dec 22 09 05:58 pm Link

Photographer

J A Y S E N

Posts: 684

Los Angeles, California, US

Cherrystone wrote:

Law enforcement generally don't make phone calls of an investigative nature.

RGR that.

Dec 22 09 05:58 pm Link

Photographer

ChanStudio - OtherSide

Posts: 5363

Alpharetta, Georgia, US

This doesn't sound right.  I think someone is playing you..


Did you check out the investigator's info?

Dec 22 09 06:00 pm Link

Photographer

StudioCMC II

Posts: 487

Bountiful, Utah, US

Jake Garn wrote:
EDIT - I meant to post this in the Photographer's Forum - Sorry!

00000000 - that is the FBI's number, according to my caller ID.  Why did they call?  Well the reason can be a good lesson for any photographer shooting girls of ANY age.  I did everything right, luckily, so the FBI was simply calling to find out what other photographers may have done wrong.

Early in November I photographed a 16 year old girl.  One week later an investigation was opened by the local police department (now turned over to the FBI) on reports that photographers had taken inappropriate photographs of her.  At least one person is already in jail and a couple others are being investigated.  Without giving personal details I will just say that the model in question (the 16 year old girl) may have led some of the other photographers to believe that she was over 18 and subsequently they took age inappropriate photos of her... whether they actually knew her age or not is something I don't know for sure.

When the FBI agent questioned me one of the first things he asked is if I knew how old she was, when I answered YES he seemed slightly surprised.  I went on to explain to him that she didn't volunteer the information, in fact, she kind of led me to believe that she was older at first, but when I let her know that I require a photo ID before the shoot proceeds she fessed up and told me her real age.

Fast forward two months later and she received legitimate permission from her parents and the shoot proceeded.  She has an amazingly exotic face and I loved the photos.  When I found out that an investigation was ensuing I became VERY glad that I did things by the book... a few other photographers are going to have to learn the lesson the hard way though.

Moral of the story.  Check photo IDs and verify ages for ANY style of shoot for any girl.  If they are under 18 I require a notarized copy of the model release with their parent's signatures.  These two things will ensure that you are protected in case something crazy happens.

For all of those that claim that you just don't shoot 'under-aged' girls it would behoove you to realize that the photographers in question most likely DID think they were shooting a girl over 18.

Jake, I have a whole lot of respect for you as an artist. But I also come from Utah too.

I think the bigger moral of this particular issue, is not just the FBI.. Its more to do with Being in Utah, and the "Super club" of the Mormons..

big_smile

Its called the control of the State, to which the Church is very very good at.. So.. Perhaps its best to leave "Zion".

Chris

Dec 22 09 06:00 pm Link

Photographer

Cherrystone

Posts: 37169

Columbus, Ohio, US

Death of Field wrote:
I don't care if you call me up & tell me you are GOD, I don't answer questions to people who call me on the phone.

If you want any information about my clients you better show up at my door with identification.

(the local cops actually like my nudes)

Oh poo, they don't want to see your photos shot, they just want to see photos of that arse of yours. big_smile

Dec 22 09 06:00 pm Link

Photographer

John Jebbia

Posts: 27821

Phoenix, Arizona, US

studio36uk wrote:
You know what I find disturbing? That you would discuss something like that with someone on the phone that calls you without previous arrangement and identifies them self as an FBI agent.

They could come to you; or you could go to see them; but either way you would have been better off not saying shit until and unless you physically saw their identification and badge.

[ring][ring][ring]Hello?

[on the other end] Hello, my name is Donald Duck and I am a Postal Inspector. I need to ask you some questions about a letter you mailed last month.

[you] Uh... you can come and see me or I can come and see you. Good bye. [click]

DUH!!!!

Studio36

Reminds me of the guy who phoned Taco Bell pretending to be a cop and got the register jockey to strip search one of the customers for shoplifted merchandise. I shit you not:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/04/ … 1210.shtml

But the OP is right. CYA.

Dec 22 09 06:01 pm Link

Photographer

Click Hamilton

Posts: 35340

San Diego, California, US

Lisa Levin wrote:
I always wonder about that, too.

Hey, Lisa! ... I still need your notarized model release from last Saturday!


tongue

Dec 22 09 06:02 pm Link

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Photographer

studio36uk

Posts: 22270

Tavai, Sigave, Wallis and Futuna

John Jebbia wrote:
Reminds me of the guy who phoned Taco Bell pretending to be a cop and got the register jockey to strip search one of the customers for shoplifted merchandise. I shit you not:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/04/ … 1210.shtml

But the OP is right. CYA.

There have been a lot of cases like that [or similar]. Same shit different days.

It's only a small step removed from web cam interviews for nude work. LOL

Studio36

Dec 22 09 06:06 pm Link

Photographer

Jake Garn

Posts: 3958

Salt Lake City, Utah, US

studio36uk wrote:
You know what I find disturbing? That you would discuss something like that with someone on the phone that calls you without previous arrangement and identifies them self as an FBI agent.

They could come to you; or you could go to see them; but either way you would have been better off not saying shit until and unless you physically saw their identification and badge.

[ring][ring][ring]Hello?

[on the other end] Hello, my name is Donald Duck and I am a Postal Inspector. I need to ask you some questions about a letter you mailed last month.

[you] Uh... you can come and see me or I can come and see you. Good bye. [click]

DUH!!!!

Studio36

Speaking of assumptions... why assume that I didn't have previous contact that let me know they were from the FBI?  Just to put your mind at ease... I did.

Dec 22 09 06:07 pm Link

guide forum

Photographer

studio36uk

Posts: 22270

Tavai, Sigave, Wallis and Futuna

Jake Garn wrote:
Speaking of assumptions... why assume that I didn't have previous contact that let me know they were from the FBI?  Just to put your mind at ease... I did.

Cop of any stripe wants to talk to me he can come around and see me; or I can go around and see him. End of.

Studio36

Dec 22 09 06:09 pm Link

Photographer

Thornton Harris

Posts: 1684

San Francisco, California, US

Jake Garn wrote:
...
Moral of the story.  Check photo IDs and verify ages for ANY style of shoot for any girl.  If they are under 18 I require a notarized copy of the model release with their parent's signatures.  These two things will ensure that you are protected in case something crazy happens.
...

Yep, next time you shoot a 6-year old girl's birthday party with the funny hats and pony rides, make sure you check her driver's license first. Then if the pony gets spooked and falls down and she gets hurt, everything is ok.

Apparently, you don't have to do this for boys.

Dec 22 09 06:09 pm Link

Photographer

Monito -- Alan

Posts: 16524

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Jake Garn wrote:  Speaking of assumptions... why assume that I didn't have previous contact that let me know they were from the FBI?  Just to put your mind at ease... I did.

Good.  Another thing to do is to get the agent's name and ID and then call into a phonebook FBI number and ask to speak to the agent that way.

Dec 22 09 06:10 pm Link

Photographer

Jake Garn

Posts: 3958

Salt Lake City, Utah, US

Click Hamilton wrote:
Things are weird here.

Let me ask some questions ...

1. Why did the FBI call you, rather than investigate you secretly and then raid you?

2. Why was it the FBI and not the local police?

3. If this was only November, how could they already have other photographers in jail, in that short of a period of time?

4. Who does anyone know who has ever taken the time and expense and interruption to have a model release notorized by a notary, and what would the notary be checking?

1. Because they weren't investigating me.
2. Don't know.
3. Easily.
4. I do.  All the time.  Not expensive either, it's a free service offered by every bank I know of.

Dec 22 09 06:11 pm Link

Photographer

Thornton Harris

Posts: 1684

San Francisco, California, US

Monito -- Alan wrote:
Good.  Another thing to do is to get the agent's name and ID and then call into a phonebook FBI number and ask to speak to the agent that way.

1 800 CALL FBI

Dec 22 09 06:11 pm Link

Photographer

OC Images

Posts: 55

Orange, California, US

Cherrystone

Law enforcement generally don't make phone calls of an investigative nature.

WHAT???

they do it all the time! 

And I'm guessing that since they didn't already have "questionable" photos from this particular photog, they wanted to contact everyone was known to have shot with to get just the kind of details that the photg was asked - such as whether or not the girl was being truthful and forthcoming with her info, and perhaps who suggested/requested certain shots.

Dec 22 09 06:12 pm Link

Photographer

StromePhoto

Posts: 888

Kalamazoo, Michigan, US

Was it the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or the Female Body Inspectors?   With the same initials I could see where there would be confusion.

Dec 22 09 06:12 pm Link

Photographer

Jake Garn

Posts: 3958

Salt Lake City, Utah, US

StudioCMC II wrote:

Jake, I have a whole lot of respect for you as an artist. But I also come from Utah too.

I think the bigger moral of this particular issue, is not just the FBI.. Its more to do with Being in Utah, and the "Super club" of the Mormons..

big_smile

Its called the control of the State, to which the Church is very very good at.. So.. Perhaps its best to leave "Zion".

Chris

I'm LDS, and I'm actually highly offended by your stereotype.

Dec 22 09 06:13 pm Link

Photographer

c_d_s

Posts: 7771

Lubbock, Texas, US

It's a prank, Jake.

Dec 22 09 06:13 pm Link

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Photographer

American Glamour

Posts: 38159

Reno, Nevada, US

Post hidden on Dec 23, 2009 02:03 am
Reason: not helpful

Dec 22 09 06:15 pm Link