Foot filming fraud follies?

Crusty feet everywhere swear by the miracle product, PedEgg. Designed to smooth even the most unattractive feet, it's said to be worth its weight in gold at only $10. It looks like a cheese grater with an egg for a handle, and they say it shaves off dead skin, callouses, and foot atrocities.

You're dying to be in a commercial for such a product, aren't you? Well of course, there's a story here. Former "The Amazing Race" contestants Kelly Parks-Corso and Jonathan Corso are ticked off because they helped make a low-budget commerical for the contraption, and now it's being shown worldwide. They were told only a limited number of people would see them making fools of themselves!

According to the lawsuit,
they were paid $300 and $375 to show up and be hand and foot models. There was allegedly a verbal agreement that they'd be paid for the publication or use of the material, but that the details would be determined later. They say only their hands and feet were supposed to be shown, and that the video was only to be used on the internet.

Here's where it gets good. Makeup was allegedly applied to their feet to make it look like they had nasty bumps. Then.... voila! Look how well the PedEgg works! Now I don't know how you define false advertising, but that sounds a little false to me! The models didn't like how the shoot went and as they were leaving, they were asked to sign a document, which they did after some objections. They don't know what the document was, but think maybe it was a release.

And now they're mad because they're in a low-quality commercial on television and everyone is seeing it! Friends have seen them and they're embarrassed! Who knew so many people would see it?

Well gee... maybe a clue that a lot of people would see it was the part of the verbal agreement they say was made which called for the video to be used on the internet. Maybe this escaped them, but the "world wide web" is accessible all over the world... and they're saying they didn't think a lot of people would see it?

I don't claim to know anything about entertainment law and how models and actors get paid. But it seems a little silly to me that they showed up for a goofy commercial for a goofy product, and then complain because the video looks goofy. You put makeup on your feet to make them look bad and you pretended this thing made them smooth. Red flags, anyone?

You sign a copy of something on the way out the door, don't know what it was, don't get a copy of it, think that it was a release of sorts, and now want to complain. Seems to me they didn't care much until the company sold a zillion PedEggs to women all over the world who are now singing its praises. Sounds like they just want a piece of the action from something they didn't care about until the product became hot.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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