Couple who fell prey to 'Power Up Photography' scam wants to warn others
A photographer promises low prices for photo shoots but when customers try to pick up their prints, the pictures and the man behind the camera are nowhere to be found.
Jackie Smith claims Charles Driggins did nothing but take her money and vanish.
"I just don't understand how he could do that to people," she said. "You're taking these photos and what are you doing with them? it's just weird."
Smith and her fiancée' said Driggins ran a bogus company called Power Up Photography at Imperial Supermarket on Eight Mile and Dequindre in Detroit.
"He had a table set out front when you walk in and he was supposedly running a special where you could get a promotional package," Smith said.
That included paying the money, and taking the photos, but the couple never got their pictures.
"He said they would be available for pickup March 4," Smith said. "So we then got a text message, a group text saying the photos were going to be a week late because of error at the lab in south California."
This turned into a lot of back and forth, then Driggins and his so-called company disappeared.
According to the owner and Jackie Smith, Driggins claimed he worked at Gemini Photography, a company the supermarket has done business with in the past.
"Come to find out this gentleman was actually fired from Gemini Photography," Smith said.
The owner of Gemini Photography said he fired Charles Driggins for being dishonest. Unfortunately, word didn't spread fast enough.
Smith has been in touch with other people who say they fell for the same scam.
"I just want my money back at this point. you know, something told me that dude was shady," said one man.
At least a dozen people say they spent about $200 each. The owner of Gemini Photography said he will give a credit to help the people who got scammed, and the owner at the grocery store says he will do a better job of vetting anyone else.
"We'll make sure they're legit with paperwork and everything," said Mazin Shina, owner of Imperial Supermarket. "And (we) probably won't do it anymore, that kind of company."
The phone number on Driggins' website went straight to voicemail, and his emergency line has been disconnected.
Now Jackie Smith and her fiancé know they won't get their money or photos back, but she wants to make sure no else gets scammed.
She spoke with police but was told she will have to take Driggins to court. Of course, that's whenever Driggins shows back up.