By Doug Ireland
---- — BRENTWOOD — A Londonderry wedding photographer avoided jail time yesterday after finally providing customers with DVDs of their photographs.
Andrea Runkel, 31, faced up to six months in the county jail as part of a suspended sentence she received in March 2012. Rockingham Superior Court Judge Kenneth McHugh ordered her to pay more than $9,200 in restitution to 24 customers because she did not give them their photos.
A hearing was scheduled for yesterday after Senior Assistant Attorney General Connie Stratton asked the court to have Runkel serve the jail sentence for not complying with the judge’s order.
But the hearing was canceled after a meeting between Stratton and Runkel’s attorney, public defender Anthony Naro.
Stratton said after the meeting the request was dropped because Runkel had provided photos to some customers. She did not know how much Runkel still owed in restitution or how many customers received photos.
Runkel, owner of Luminescence Photography, was charged in December 2010 with three misdemeanor counts of unauthorized or deceptive business practices.
She was sentenced on only one of three charges of violating the Consumer Protection Act. The other two charges were not prosecuted, according to court documents.
The attorney general’s office has said it received numerous complaints about Runkel. She is prohibited from owning or running a photography business in the state for at least seven years.
Wedding planning and consumer websites featured complaints about Runkel from brides who said they did not receive their photographs — sometimes a year or more after their weddings.
Runkel’s business is the second local wedding photography studio to face charges.
Michael and Darlene Perrotta of Atkinson, who ran Forever in Time in Salem, received suspended one-year jail sentences in 2011 and were ordered to pay restitution.
They pleaded guilty to accepting payment from approximately 230 newlywed couples without providing photographs of their weddings.