Home | News | Model Yuliana Avalos says her pictures were used in a 2010 scam by Ghanaians that led Yonkers father Al Circelli to kill himself

Model Yuliana Avalos says her pictures were used in a 2010 scam by Ghanaians that led Yonkers father Al Circelli to kill himself

Model Yuliana Avalos says her pictures were used in a 2010 scam by Ghanaians that led Yonkers father Al Circelli to kill himself Yuliana Avalos

A model suing match.com for using her likeness without consent has now revealed her pictures also led a New York man to kill himself after he was caught up in a catfish scam.

Yuliana Avalos, who is part of a group demanding $1.5 billion in a suit against the dating site, said Saturday that pictures of her were also used by a scammers in Ghana to steal over $50,000 from Al Circelli.

The Yonkers man killed himself in 2010 after realizing the woman he'd stolen from his own family to support financially wasn't even real.

 
Plot thickens: Footage from a 2010 story on Al Circelli (left), a Yonkers man who killed himself after falling victim to a catfish scam, has been revealed to also involve model Yuliana Avalos (right), who is part of a $1.5B lawsuit against match.coma

Plot thickens: Footage from a 2010 story on Al Circelli (left), a Yonkers man who killed himself after falling victim to a catfish scam, has been revealed to also involve model Yuliana Avalos (right), who is part of a $1.5B lawsuit against match.com

 

At least not in the way he believed. There was, of course, a person behind the photos Circelli believed was a woman named 'Aisha,' but her name was actually Yuliana.

'The woman who he thought he was talking to was begging him for money and he finally went broke,' was her, Avalos, 31, told the New York Daily News. 'He had to borrow money from his son. He went bankrupt. He lost everything. He was so ashamed that he killed himself.'

The part-time model, who lives in Palm Bay, Florida, was pictured in a 2010 WABC story on Al Circelli's tragic end, but her name wasn't known until now.

 
Tragic consequences: Circelli (right), with his son Peter, believed he was sending to a woman named Aisha, when he'd actually been lining the pockets of scammers in Ghana who used Avalos' modeling photos

Tragic consequences: Circelli (right), with his son Peter, believed he was sending to a woman named Aisha, when he'd actually been lining the pockets of scammers in Ghana who used Avalos' modeling photos

 

 
The face of a hundred catfish: Model Yuliana Avalos is suing Match.com for $1.5billion because hundreds of users have used her pictures in their profiles without her consent. Above, a picture of the website
The face of a hundred catfish: Model Yuliana Avalos is suing Match.com for $1.5billion because hundreds of users have used her pictures in their profiles without her consent. Above, a picture of the website
 

The face of a hundred catfish: Model Yuliana Avalos is suing Match.com for $1.5billion because hundreds of users have used her pictures in their profiles without her consent. Above, a picture of the website

 

 
Growing problem: Thousands have joined the class-action lawsuit against the dating site, including famous actors, military personnel and Facebook users

Growing problem: Thousands have joined the class-action lawsuit against the dating site, including famous actors, military personnel and Facebook users

 

'I saw him sitting in a chair with a bullet in his head,' Circelli's son Peter revealed at the time.

The family found piles of Western Union transaction records for $300 transfers to Ghana, a country in West Africa widely known for its romance and riches scams.

He'd even turned to theft when his own money ran out, taking out lines of credit in Peter's name and getting cash advances.

'It can't be tracked. These people are like ghosts and the damage these people have caused, they shouldn't be able to cause in other people's lives,' Peter Circelli said. 'To see him go down like this, to think there are other families who might have to go through something like this, I have to open my mouth. I can't hide no more.'

 
'I saw him sitting in a chair with a bullet in his head': Peter Circelli said his father's 2010 suicide destroyed his family and left them struggling financially after Al stole money to send to a woman who wasn't even real

'I saw him sitting in a chair with a bullet in his head': Peter Circelli said his father's 2010 suicide destroyed his family and left them struggling financially after Al stole money to send to a woman who wasn't even real

 A new drama is now unfolding for Avalos as she and 'thousands' of other actors, military personnel, and Facebook users sue match.com for the massive sum for allowing their photos to be used by others.

The part-time model and mother has never joined the dating site, but says that her pictures have been used in hundreds of fake profiles without her consent.  

'Not a day goes by when someone doesn't tell me that they saw my pictures posted on Match.com or another web site,' Ms Avalos said. 

Ms Avalos and the group claim that Match.com broke copyright laws and committed common law fraud by approving the fake profiles when they easily could have weeded them out with facial recognition software. 

'When I saw how this free software worked, it can billions of images simultaneously,' said Ms Avalos' attorney Evan Spencer. 'They can screen and make sure that the photo never appears again.'

Through the facial recognition software, Mr Spencer was able to figure out that Ms Avalos' picture was used in over 200 profiles. 

Mr Spencer says that the company has chosen not to use this technology in order to maintain its rank as  one of the largest dating sites on the web. 

Match.com - which uses the catchphrase 'more dates, more relationships, more marriages' - currently ranks as the second largest dating site with 96million registered users, but only around 1.4million are active profiles. 

The lawsuit even claims that the website is creating fake profiles on purpose, but doesn't go into detail about how that's done. The suit says that it's in the website's best interest to have a large pool of members. 

For the negligent and unjust enrichment charges, the group is seeking $500million in damages and $1billion in punitive damages. 

Match.com was launched in 1995 and is owned by IAC, a media and internet company based in New York. 

 

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