Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York James MunizThe fugitive CEO of a Hicksville-based modeling agency accused of defrauding dozens of clients out of more than $250,000 was apprehended Tuesday in Florida and is facing extradition back to Long Island.James Muniz, who prosecutors said was staying with relatives in Hialeah, Fla., is facing 21 charges in Nassau County, including 20 counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud.Three of the 44-year-old Roslyn man’s employees had surrendered to authorities last month on similar charges. They include 26-year-old Jennifer Santiago of Queens, 31-year-old Jennifer Diaz-Domenech of Brooklyn and 42-year-old Michelle Alperin-Smith of Nesconset.Prosecutors alleged Muniz’s company, New Faces Development Center, Inc. and Model Talent Development Corp., which closed in November, had scouts tell victims they had the “look” to succeed in modeling or acting, would not be charged for the companies’ services and that only a few were offered such opportunities through the agencies—but scouts signed up anyone who’d pay for contracts costing $550 to $3,000. Both companies are facing the same charges as the four suspects.The New York Attorney General’s office, which sued New Faces for $250,000 in restitution in 2006 when it was owned by Muniz’ ex-wife, opened a new investigation into the company last year before the case was consolidated with a similar probe by the Nassau County District Attorney’s office.Muniz is being held in a Miami-Dade County jail until he is extradited to New York. He and the three employees face up to seven years in prison, if convicted. Each company faces fines of up to $10,000, plus possible restitution.Since the arrests were announced, investigators have received about 300 phone calls from other clients of the modeling agency, leading to 85 formal complaints that are now being reviewed.The investigation is continuing, and anyone who thinks they may have been similarly victimized should contact DA Rice’s Complaints Unit at 516-571-3505 or the Attorney General’s Office at 516-248-3301.
Glen Laing, football coach at St Jago High School, says good student-athletes are easier to coach. Laing, who guided St Jago to the Super Cup and Walker Cup semi-finals last season, is challenging his colleagues to emphasise academics with their charges. Speaking days before St Jago started their 2016 campaign with a 3-0 away win over Campion College, Laing lamented the current state of Jamaican football. “What’s happening in Jamaican football is just a travesty right now,” he said. “If we have more coaches who are serious about the youngsters not only playing, but learning, because if they are learning in the schools, it’s easier to coach them.” Continuing on the education theme, he explained: “So we are emphasising on them learning, so when they come to the football, it’s easier for them to understand the tactical play that we want them to put out on the field.” In a reflection of the recent success of Germany at the World Cup and the Olympics, he concluded: “You’re just hoping that our guys can learn good in the schools, so when we have them on the field and show them some of those plays, it will just be automatic.” St Jago will be back in action against Calabar High School tomorrow. The match will be played at the Spanish Town Prison Oval, Spanish Town, with kick off set for 3.30 p.m.