NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Emotional couples from Long Island and beyond have been waiting years for their precious wedding day memories. The couples paid thousands of dollars up front, for professional photos and videos, and they say that they were duped by a company called “Leli Photography.”
“We were concerned,” Danielle and Vincent Rella of Smithtown, told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
The couple claims that they were duped into pre-paying almost $4,000 for their wedding photos and videos. That was nearly five years ago.
The couple said that they only received a couple of proofs and were surprised to see themselves featured as a satisfied couple in a glossy bridal magazine ad for the man who they said hadn’t delivered.
CBS 2 found a dozen frustrated and angry couples who had discovered each other through word of mouth and an Internet blog. They all claim to have proof that they paid up front for pictures and videos that they never received.
Amy Kenner of Great Neck said she can’t bear to hear the word “video.”
“I say the word video in the house, and you can see her eyes start to tear up a little bit. It’s stolen from us,” said her husband, Doug. “It’s been almost four years.”
One couple from Huntington had a special dance choreographed and filmed at their wedding. They still haven’t seen the video.
Matthew and Danielle McLoughlin of East Meadow called them false promises.
“He invites you to his home. sits you down in his office. He promises you the sun, the moon, the stars, and then he delivers on none of it,” said Jessica and Jeremy Granger of Ronkonkoma.
CBS 2 tracked down wedding photographer Gary Leli in Saint James. He’s the man who some couples are referring to as a con man.
Leli claimed that financial problems are responsible for the delay.
“Well, ah, believe me I have all the respect in the world for their feelings, but like any business if you start running a lien on your income, it’s hard to make up some of the ground,” he said.
And the couples aren’t the only ones who feel shortchanged.
Frank Castellucci, a videographer, told CBS 2 that Leli owes him as well.
“Although he denies it he owes me close to or a little over ten thousand dollars,” he said.
Suffolk County’s Consumer Affairs Commissioner has launched an investigation into Leli photography. Leli is still on the job and taking on new clients.
What do you think should be done for the slighted couples? Let us know in the comments section below…