BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley says his office has reached a settlement with Glasser Images, Jack Glasser and Jace Schacher in a case that involves, among other things, prepayments for wedding photos that were never taken and never delivered.
If the agreement is approved by the Burleigh County District Court, Glasser and Schacher will be required to pay $807,188 in restitution to affected customers and subcontractors. The two men each filed bankruptcy in August 2022. Normally, such payments would be greatly reduced or wiped out in bankruptcy proceedings, but Glasser and Schacher have agreed the restitution would not be dischargeable in their respective bankruptcies.
The settlement also imposes a $30,000 civil penalty on the two, and both will be banned from owning or operating a photography business in North Dakota for at least 15 years. Also, Glasser Images will have to admit it engaged in acts or practices constituting consumer fraud in North Dakota.
The consent judgement would bring to a close nearly three years of complaints and investigations. In October 2021, the Consumer Protection Division of the North Dakota Attorney General’s office opened an investigation into Glasser Images and its sudden closure. After a six-month investigation, the Consumer Protection Division filed suit alleging that Glasser Images, Glasse, and Schacher violated North Dakota’s consumer protection laws by soliciting advance payments from consumers for wedding photography or videography, and then failing to provide the services due to financial problems that were not properly disclosed to consumers.
The investigation revealed Glasser and Schacher had wrongfully paid for personal expenditures using Glasser Images’ funds. These funds included advance payments that were entrusted to the business by consumers for their future wedding. Glasser Images’ records reflected that its financial problems predated the COVID-19 pandemic and were exacerbated by Glasser and Schacher’s use of Glasser Images’ funds for personal expenditures.
“These defendants promised important services to wedding couples who paid for photography and video services on one of the most important days of their lives and then failed to do so, causing almost incalculable distress,” North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley said. “The conduct and circumstances of this case and these incredibly disappointing actions merit serious sanctions, which Glasser Images, Glasser and Schacher have acknowledged and agreed to, including an injunction on business for many years and the requirement to pay restitution and civil penalties that are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.”
Wrigley noted, with 540 complaints including both those for undelivered photographs and videos and those involving advance payments without any photography services provided, the matter required an extensive effort by his office to reconcile each consumer complaint to determine those consumers that ultimately received delivery of products and those consumers still owed restitution for services not provided.
The Consumer Protection Division also worked extensively with Glasser’s subcontractors to ensure delivery of the photographs and videos where possible, despite Glasser’s non-payment to those subcontractors.