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Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the most special and memorable days of your life, but for many couples in the New York and New Jersey area it’s become a nightmare because of a fraudulent wedding photographer. Michael De Rubeis of Michael J. Distasio Photography is facing up to 70 felony charges after scamming couples to the tune of $140,000. He’s been officially charged with 35 counts of theft by deception, and 35 counts of deception for operating under a fake name.
The reviews of his work all sing a similar song. De Rubeis, if he shows up at all, acts extremely unprofessional during the whole affair. He looks sloppy and doesn’t suggest any poses, mostly just taking casual snapshots. Most of the time he sends his wife and another female, assumed by many in the reviews to be his daughter. After the wedding De Rubeis and co disappear. They don’t return phone calls or emails and the final product is never delivered. Some couples have paid thousands of dollars and have waited for years for absolutely nothing.
According to CBS New York, De Rubeis was banned from doing this exact same work over a decade ago when he scammed 60 couples in a similar manner, but somehow he snuck back into the industry with the use of aliases. This time around he went by “Michael J. Distasio.” Since returning to the wedding photography business he’s pulled off an astonishing amount of scams.
Seventy couples have come forward about his latest string of scams and the online review site WeddingWire.com currently has 47 reviews, almost all universally negative. The few positive reviews he has are short, all 5 stars, and highly suspect. People began to use the reviews section of the website to organize a movement against the photographer. Several customers posted phone numbers or suggestions on who to call to move forward on exposing the scammer. So far the movement has been a success as De Rubeis is now officially facing charges for his fraudulent work. His official sentence for his crimes has not yet been ruled on.