A former wedding photographer faces extortion, cyberstalking and wire fraud charges in Missouri, where he allegedly tricked dozens of women into having sex with him under the pretense they were auditioning for X-rated film roles, PEOPLE confirms.
Earlier this month, a federal grand jury returned a 21-count indictment against Mario Ambrose Antoine, a 33-year-old resident of Raymore, Missouri, who was detained on Monday and remains in police custody.
The federal indictment, obtained by PEOPLE, alleges Antoine created a number of online aliases that helped him pose as a talent manager, photographer and videographer for fictitious companies such as “Playboy Worldwide,” “Playboy Asia,” “Dash Agency” and other companies that he claimed managed private overseas pornography websites.
The indictment goes further, however, alleging that Antoine is at the center of a years-long web of compounding deceits, at one point even impersonating his own attorney.
According to the indictment, Antoine has since 2011 “auditioned” dozens of women throughout the Kansas City, Missouri, area — all aspiring models seeking work. At some point during these auditions, Antoine allegedly persuaded the women into having sex with him on film, falsely claiming the footage would improve their casting odds.
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Antoine to pay the women tens of thousands of dollars and presented his victims with forged and false documents to add an appearance of legitimacy to his scheme, the indictment alleges. These documents included falsified and forged checks issued to other “models,” IRS tax forms, Department of Homeland Security employment forms and other documentation.
Antoine also allegedly and falsely registered several Internet domain names, according to the indictment, and allegedly created false Facebook profiles to perpetuate his scheme.
Several of the women filed complaints after they had not been paid as promised. This, the indictment alleges, prompted Antoine to take revenge by forwarding illicit images of the women to their employers and loved ones.
Antoine has been charged with 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 the false registration of a domain name.
Antoine is due to appear in federal court for a hearing Thursday, at which time he is expected to enter a plea to the 21 criminal counts. Court records do not indicate if he has retained at attorney.
“I’m shocked,” one former neighbor told KSHB. “I couldn’t believe what I was reading. He was real friendly and helpful. He invited us over for dinner once or twice.”
(According to station, Antoine was previously found guilty of theft in connection with his work as a wedding photographer.)
A Web of Lies
The indictment, based on the claims of six women, alleges a pattern of sex and lies:
Antoine allegedly promised to pay one woman $1,000 per photo shoot and produced several videos with footage he’d shot during sexual encounters in 2011 and 2012. Last year, Antoine allegedly told the woman he wouldn’t sell or distribute the footage if she paid him $9,000. When she refused, he allegedly suggested that she instead drive to his house and have sex with him. According to the indictment, she did.
A second victim was allegedly duped into having sex with Antoine when he promised to pay her $2,000 but never did.
Another woman told investigators she’d had sex with Antoine in May 2015 and that he allegedly recorded the encounter by taking photographs and video, according to the indictment. The third victim was allegedly never paid for the shoot, and Antoine allegedly sent some nude images of the woman to her employer.
Antoine allegedly promised to pay a fourth woman $2,000 for “auditioning,” according to the indictment, which states the two had sex. But Antoine allegedly never paid her, instead allegedly sending illicit images from the encounter to her ex-boyfriend.
A fifth victim also alleges she was never paid for her “audition,” which also allegedly involved performing sexual acts on Antoine. Months later, Antoine allegedly reached out to the woman’s boyfriend through Facebook and told him, “she does porn” and suggested that was how she was able to pay for her car. He also allegedly sent pictures of the sex to the victim’s boyfriend.
A sixth woman was allegedly promised $10,000 for having sex with Antoine. That alleged encounter was also recorded, but the victim never received a check.
The indictment further alleges Antoine lied to investigators when he providing the name of his attorney. Detectives learned from the attorney that he did not represent Antoine, who is accused of creating a fictitious e-mail account to impersonate the attorney.
The indictment alleges Antoine conducted Google searches last fall for “rape by deception,” “rape by deception kansas,” and “illegal to trick girls into sleeping with you,” and visited websites and law journals regarding the criminality of committing rape by fraud or deception.
The investigation is ongoing as authorities are still identifying victims.
Anyone who believes they have been victimized by Antoine is urged to contact the FBI at 816-512-8200.