Yuliana Avalos, Miami Bikini Model, Sues Match.com for $1.5 Billion Over Stolen Photos

Categories: News

yuliana.jpg
Pics like these showed up on Match.com.
Next time you see photographers taking pictures of a languid, bikini-clad woman posing in the surf, realize something. Those photos are worth a lot of money.

Especially if they materialize on more than 200 fake Match.com profiles managed by con men operating in internet cafés from Nigeria to Russia, according to a $1.5 billion federal lawsuit that bikini model Yuliana Avalos has filed against the online matchmaking conglomerate.

Even more so, says the onetime Miami Beach resident who has since moved to Palm Bay, if those pictures killed someone.

In 2011, Avalos got a phone call from ABC reporter Chris Cuomo, who'd been working on an authoritative account of the Match.com scam artists. According to the Daily News, he told her some of those men had used her images, collected from her modeling site and Facebook, to bolster fake profiles to con thousands of lonely men out of money.

One of those men, Avalos soon realized, was a New Yorker named Al Circelli, who killed himself in 2010 after losing $50,000 to the scam. Over the course of one year, he'd corresponded with a woman who called herself "Aisha" and told Circelli she needed money to settle some expenses in Ghana so she could unite with the divorced Circelli.

Circelli stopped making his mortgage payments, took out credit cards in his son's name, and kept feeding "Aisha" money. the reward was more pictures of Avalos. The day the New Yorker shot himself, he thought he was going to meet "Aisha," who was due to fly into New York that day.

Avalos, who's never been a member of Match.com, soon learned this horrifying account wasn't an aberration. Nearly 200 other profiles had also used her likeness in fake schemes. Now she blames Match.com.

"Unknown thousands or millions of [Match.com's] members subscribe to this website in hopes of meeting [Avalos]," the class action lawsuit says. "The tragedy of this case is two-fold. The victims [are] mostly widows, widowers, and divorcés aged 50 and over who have been defrauded out of hundreds of millions of dollars over the past six years through fraudulent dating profiles on [Match.com.]"

Avalos says Match.com is culpable because it doesn't use "facial recognition software," which she claims would root out all fraudulent profiles and stolen photographs.

With that, it could have "easily and inexpensively stopped these illegal practices," her lawsuit says.

Send your story tips to the author, Terrence McCoy.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.


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28 comments
desbest
desbest

For $50,000 you could pay to have sex with thousands of women, but I guess this man wanted love. What is the world coming to, when someone is willing to pay $50,000 to fall in love.

dmillernepa
dmillernepa

She is not what she appears to be. The show, Davin's Den has been keeping track of this woman for over a year. She has taken money from scammers and we have the proof. The show, Davin's Den recapped everything on July 2, 2013 of this year and they will go into it again tonight at 6:30 PM Est. www.davinsden.com This is just the tip of the iceberg. It will blow your mind. ABC's 20/20 is part of the problem as well. They'll explain.

Millie Santana
Millie Santana

I'm pretty sure they do create fake profiles, they have to make the website look busy when they don't have enough clients posting their "Lives Resumes" on their website!

Miriam M. Grissett Rivera
Miriam M. Grissett Rivera

Jajajaja ;D Flattering all parties equally. ;p Should keep the legal beagles yipping and yapping through one too many news cycles. (Works for some - by happy chance mostly. Good enough for me. Have at it, Lovers. 1B indeed! The b is for billion, yes?)

jgcamp99
jgcamp99

That NYer is an idiot of the highest order ? What part about Ghana isn't a siren warning one to cut communications ? Regardless though maybe at one point, the model signed away those pictures to be used for stock purposes ?

anon124
anon124

ummm... lady, it was a FAKE match.com site. Match.com has no responsibility. 

Jasmin M Augustin
Jasmin M Augustin

she feels sorry for men who sent money to strangers over the internet, so she turns around and sues for 1.5 billion?! yeah, that makes sense.... maybe use your "power" for something better than making money off of idiots. match shouldn't be held responsible for dumb people. and dating websites actually WORK it used responsibly.

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

Is anybody online the real person they say they are?
Naked pics online? That's disgusting. On a website? There's so many of them though. Where? Which one? - 

 http://www.tineye.com/

Kristofer Jesus Castellar
Kristofer Jesus Castellar

Yes Match.com is misleading the Public. It's advertising fake relationships, and if Tiger Woods got abused by his btch for putting it in a couple other sluts, then we should drop the hammer on Match

Laurel St
Laurel St

Um no, they can't be the fucking internet police.

Kzm Ufc
Kzm Ufc

Is that a transgender dude?

Nichole Savary
Nichole Savary

1.5 billion tho!! lmao who the hell she think she is?

Orlando De Frias
Orlando De Frias

Is it a legal strategy to sue for a "highly valuated tech startup" amount of money? Seriously, they just used some photos, she deserves maybe $500 and a free Match.com profile at most.

ALisa Rauner
ALisa Rauner

Better to sue people on behalf of people who are traumatized when dates show up ten years older and 75lbs heavier!

Alex Howard
Alex Howard

Christina Hammoud. You should read this.

Veezie Lu
Veezie Lu

Here's a thought, watermark your own photos and don't give people money over the internet... People should protect THEMSELVES and not keep telling business and government to have common sense for them... This sucks, and you can't not feel bad for all those involved, but this company just made a site to facilitate MEETING people, and if you just want to sit at home and jack off to pictures instead of protecting yourself, your money, and verifying identity, I'm sorry, but your bad.

Michelle L. Funez
Michelle L. Funez

Why would anyone send that kind of money (or any for thay matter) to someone they do not know or never met? That should be a huge red flag and a responsibilty the website should not assume.

Dan Anthony Cruz
Dan Anthony Cruz

She will win the lawsuit but obviously not get that insane amount.

Andrea Dutchland
Andrea Dutchland

Yes they should be held accountable . There needs to be a way to find out if someone is real since you are paying to find a way to meet someone there should be a way of joining in a more protected Internet friendly environment . Maybe have a live chat with a representative of match.com prior to signing up . Like a video chat or FaceTime almost . Thats terrible that they allow just anyone to join those websites . What if the guy would have met her and the day he decides to kill himself he kills her and she has no idea any of this cyber world issue is going on . Its wrong .

tokoneko
tokoneko

The law suit is interesting, but I believe it will fail.  What is more culpable? The gun or the one that fires it? In this case "match.com" is the gun.  You can not blame the gun for it's mechanisms. I'm not a fan of match.com or guns for that matter.   This is just my humble opinion.

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