'Erin isn't who she says she is:' Dozens of women band together to warn of wedding photo scam
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Grafton woman is one of dozens of people she says paid a wedding photographer thousands of dollars for photos they'll never get.
The women are spread across several states and have now banded together to warn others so they don't also fall victim.
The group says there are now at least 26 women trying to get their money back from Erin Lundy, but they're not confident that will happen.
Many never got their photos and fear they're gone forever, others say she didn't even show up at their wedding.
And one of the women said she found out the day after her wedding Lundy wasn't there because she was in jail.
Rachel Straubhaar lives near Madison. She got married Saturday, Sept. 17. She said, "We didn't have a wedding photographer on what is supposed to be our most important day."
Rachel and her now-husband paid photographer Erin Lundy $3,000 to shoot their ceremony and reception, but she never showed up.
Straubhaar recalled, "It's almost noon on our wedding day, and we get a message from some random person saying she was having emergency surgery and couldn't come."
So there was no photographer, and there was also no surgery. Straubhaar said, "Then found out the next day that it wasn't surgery, she was in fact arrested."
Rachel is one of more than two dozen women who say Lundy scammed them.
But they can't connect with her because right now she's in the Dane County Jail for something completely unrelated to her photography: 17 counts -13 of them felonies - for stealing more than $32,000 from a former employer.
Jules Kranich says she was scammed by Lundy, saying, "I want to remember the days. I want to go back. It's just sad."
Jules knows she may never get her money back, but she's holding out hope she will get the memories. "I don't know what to do. I feel awful, my heart's broken, so is everybody else's. We just want our photos."
Lundy at least showed up at Jules' wedding and took photos, and they could still be saved somewhere.
Lundy's website advertises three packages ranging from $1,800 to $3,900.
Kranich said, "You know it's going to be a few thousand dollars to get really good pictures. And I thought I did all the research."
But so far that money has only gotten Jules a single photo of her with a sunflower, nothing else. Family members shot a few photos on their phones.
Jules and the group of women are now trying to reach anyone they may have missed, like Lexi Retz of Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Lexi said when she heard from the group, "They basically stated, 'this is what's happening. Erin isn't who she says she is.'"
Soon after Lexi paid Lundy a $1,000 retainer, it all fell apart. She said, "I am so thankful that I am not getting married next week, and she's not going to show up for my wedding."
But Lundy is scheduled to shoot several weddings for women in the group in the coming weeks, and they don't know what will happen.
Lexi said, "I feel terrible for the women who have to go through that."
The women are working together and supporting each other, digging for leads and sharing legal advice. But they know they may not get back what they want the most.
And it's difficult to answer when people ask if their wedding was the happiest day of their lives.
Rachel said, "It's tough to be like 'Well, actually our photographer ruined our day because she wasn't there."
Calls to Erin Lundy's photography business were not answered.
As mentioned, Dane County Jail records list her as in custody at this time. Calls to the jail to reach Lundy were also not returned.