Public warned of mother daughter duo

JOHN EDENS
Last updated 11:37 25/09/2012
sept 25 elice
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Courtney Elice
sept 25 elice
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Sandi Alexander

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The Office of Fair Trading in Australia today warned consumers about a mother and daughter previously convicted of fraud in Queenstown who faced a string a complaints about a talent agency.

Australians Courtney Elice, in her early 20s, and her mother Sandi Alexander, mid-40s, faced a raft of complaints from disgruntled clients and their families about Tabitha Talent Management's actions in Australia, Christchurch and Nelson in 2009.

The Office of Fair Trading in Queensland today warned consumers about the pair's latest talent company, Fenwick Actor Models.

Elice, also known as Courtnie Thomas, and Alexander, also known as Cassandra Thomas, are under investigation for making false claims about services and staff credentials, Office of Fair Trading commissioner David Ford said.

Six complaints were received from customers and one complaint from a former employee.

''Four of those complaints were about a workshop Fenwick Actor Models promoted that they claimed would involve sessions with two high-profile casting agents, including auditions.

''Following their suspicions, a number of consumers contacted the casting agents who advised they had no affiliation with Fenwick and were not scheduled to take part in the workshop.

"The consumers requested a refund of $2375 each but were refused.''

Mr Ford said it was not the first time the pair had come to the attention of the Office of Fair Trading.

"In 2009 and 2010 the office received eight complaints about Cassandra Thomas, under her former name Sandi Alexander, and her daughter and their business Tabitha Talent Management," he said.

At the time the pair had moved to New Zealand while under investigation in Australia and were eventually fined for failing to provide information on Tabitha Talent Management.

The pair moved to Queenstown to a Dalefield property and police have two outstanding warrants for their arrest for breach of community work.

Elice was sentenced to 275 hours' community work in the Queenstown District Court for ripping off hotels.

She checked into the Novotel and the Rydges in Queenstown on dates between February 19 and March 9, 2010 using false names. She also checked into a Christchurch hotel under a false name and racked up bills of more than $2000, including two $200 bottles of champagne.

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Alexander was sentenced to 50 hours'  community work for using forged documents.

In February 2010, the mother and daughter were fined almost $3000 in the Queenstown District Court on unrelated drink-driving charges.

The pair were drinking in Queenstown when Elice, who was moderately intoxicated, decided to drive them from the town centre to Gorge Rd.

Police tried to stop the car but the older woman - who had taken over the driving after her daughter pulled over - led officers on a "short pursuit" that ended in Huff St.

- The Southland Times

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