California lawyer Photoshops Phony Celebrity Pics



(Reuters) – A Los Angeles attorney may have her law license suspended after a state bar investigation found that she had superimposed images of herself into numerous celebrity photographs posted on her website’s “publicity” page.

In an 18-page decision, a state bar court judge recommended Svitlana Sangary be suspended for six months and remain on probation for another 2-1/2 years for deceptive advertising and misconduct stemming from an investigation of the photos.

The ruling, issued this month, is ultimately subject to review by the State Supreme Court, which imposes such discipline.




Each of the photographs in question shows Sangary posing with political figures or celebrities, including President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and actors George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio and Anne Hathaway.

“This court finds that many, and perhaps all, of these photos were created by taking original celebrity photos and then overlaying respondent’s image in order to make it appear as though (she) was in the presence of that celebrity,” Judge Donald Miles wrote in his opinion.


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He said the photos, posted beginning in December 2012, “were part of an advertisement and solicitation for future work … and they were false, deceptive and intended to confuse, deceive and mislead the public.” Sangary has denied the allegations.

Although the link to the publicity page appears to have been removed, some photos could still be accessed on Friday on the Internet.

The judge’s ruling did not explain how allegations they were fabricated came to the state bar’s attention. But Miles said “credible and persuasive expert testimony” presented at trial convinced him the pictures had been doctored.


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Sangary, whose website advertises a practice specializing in dispute resolution, business law and real estate litigation, declined by email to directly address the allegations.

But she suggested she was in a position to pose for pictures with prominent people through her political and philanthropic connections.





“Nothing in my life is more valuable to me than realization of the fact that I was able to come all the way from being an impoverished kid in Ukraine to a major political and charitable donor in California, and able to socialize and take pictures with the people I’ve always admired,” she said.


Sangary, a graduate of Pepperdine University law school, promised a fuller reply to the ruling within 30 days.





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