NYC Model Pleads Guilty to Snatching Baby From Fake Casting Call

Members of Canadian labor union ACTRA are now trying to raise concerns for the protection of child performers.

TORONTO – In a criminal case that has shaken the local film industry, a New York City model-actress pleaded guilty in a Toronto court Friday to snatching a baby during a fake Bollywood casting call.

Michelle Marie Gopaul, 24, was sentenced to two and a half years in jail for child abduction. 
 
Gopaul, who is from Manhattan and has family in Toronto, was arrested Jan. 1 after one-month old Roma Patel went missing when her parents brought her to a Bollywood movie casting call advertised on Craigslist. 
 
Police have alleged that Gopaul, using an alias, posted ads on the Website offering $15,000 for an Indian baby girl, less than eight weeks old, to star in a Hindi film. (The abducted baby was later returned unharmed to her parents.)
 
In response to the conviction, leading Canadian actors with ACTRA, the performers union, on Monday are to raise concerns for the protection of child performers during planned meetings at the provincial legislature with
Ontario politicians.
 
And next Wednesday night, ACTRA will hold a public meeting in Toronto for parents of aspiring child actors and models on, among other issues, spotting and avoiding casting scams.
 
“Some parents and kids dream of a career in show business. At the same time, just a few months ago in Toronto, an infant was abducted from what was advertised as a non-union audition for a Bollywood film,” ACTRA said in its public notice for the meeting.
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