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Deputies say talent agency was phony

The proprietor is accused of not having a license and possessing child pornography.

By KATHRYN WEXLER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 2, 2002

TAMPA -- William Glenn Whitaker tried to recruit children for a purported talent agency he ran out of his Seffner house, authorities said.

But the agency, "Wizard Productions," was bogus, according to Hillsborough County deputies. Whitaker, 48, was arrested Thursday evening on charges of operating a talent agency without a license and possession of child pornography.

It is unclear at this point whether a local child was the subject of an illegal photo seized at Whitaker's house Thursday, deputies said.

"That's something we're going to have to see if we can determine, if there's any way we can connect photos with the paperwork," said sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter.

Whitaker was released Friday on $5,500 bail. He has a 13-year history of arrests and convictions for worthless checks.

Detectives investigated Whitaker for two months after receiving a complaint that he was trying to recruit children for photo shoots and selling the items on the Internet, deputies said.

A search warrant was executed Thursday at his house at 11616 Colony Hill Drive, where investigators seized Whitaker's computer, photography equipment and modeling contracts, deputies said.

Undercover officers arranged for Whitaker to provide them with two models, ages 16 and 17, for $250. Whitaker signed a contract, but the business is not licensed with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Carter said.

"We do know that he was out in the community, he was passing out business cards, fliers, advertising his talent agency," she said.

- Kathryn Wexler can be reached at (813) 226-3383.

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