MINEOLA - A new arrest has been made in an alleged scam that ripped off aspiring models.
Dierdre Aquino, former vice president of the now-defunct Hicksville-based Model Talent Development Center, was arrested and charged on Thursday. In addition to bilking people out of money, Aquino is accused of helping owner James Muniz flee to Florida before he was arrested in October.
The district attorney says that four people already accused in the case are now facing even more charges after additional parents came forward claiming they had been promised modeling jobs for their children in exchange for a fee. Those jobs never came to fruition.
Authorities say the defendants, which includes Muniz, preyed on the insecurities of parents. The parents were told to pay immediately or lose the chance of a lifetime.
Aquino is currently in police custody and has not made bail. All five of the defendants have pleaded not guilty.