Penn Township wedding photographer settles AG lawsuit
A former wedding photographer from Penn Township will have until late 2022 to pay off $5,300 in restitution and penalties related to a lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General's Office accusing him of deceptive business practices.
State attorneys recently reached a settlement with Eric Porado, whom customers complained missed four weddings and failed to deliver photo products for two others after he took their money.
As part of the final decree — which was approved April 2 by Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Anthony Marsili — Porado, 31, is prohibited from advertising or selling photography services until he completes the payments.
One of the customers, Chad Crespy of Penn Hills, said he had to hire another photographer after making a down payment of less than $600 for Porado to shoot his Dec. 31, 2011, wedding. After the payment, Crespy said, he couldn't get a hold of Porado.
Crespy said he was pleased with the state's investigation.
“I was very surprised because, truthfully, we just wrote it off,” Crespy said about the money. “If we get it back, we get it back. That'll be a bonus, I guess.”
Porado is accountable for $3,800 in restitution for clients for the six weddings.
He will have to pay another $1,000 as a civil penalty to the state and $500 for the cost of the investigation.
After making a $100 payment in March, he is required to make monthly payments of $50, court records show. At that rate, the penalty could last until November 2022.
Porado has said that he was surprised by the lawsuit because he had been working with the Attorney General's Office on a resolution before it filed the suit in January 2013.
“I know what I was responsible for, so I just took care of it so everyone gets the money they deserve,” Porado said last week.
A spokesperson for the Attorney General said the state will collect the restitution before it collects the civil penalty and costs. The state will control the timing of the distributions, which will repay plaintiffs proportionally to the amount they are due.
For Emily Sapienza, the loss was only $100 for a photo album that she never received. Still, she said, she was among the spurned clients who pushed for an investigation into Porado to keep the complaints against him on the Internet from being swept under the rug.
“I'm glad to hear that he's at least on a payment plan,” Sapienza said.
Porado also is paying restitution in an unrelated criminal case in which he pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property and conspiracy for selling $37,000 worth of stolen jewelry to a Monroeville coin store. Court records show that he has paid $470 of the $37,672 in restitution since pleading guilty in January 2013.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or firstname.lastname@example.org.