Woman never received photos from family event

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- A Valley photographer is accused of taking money and running.

He claims to be a professional photographer. That means you would expect professional service and, of course, professional-looking pictures.

But, one Valley woman says she didn't get either when she hired a guy by the name of Johnny Lozoya.

Esperanza Mata has been trying to find him for months, but on this day it was 3 On Your Side who caught up with him.

Lozoya told us he had no idea why 3 On Your Side would want to talk to him.

Mata hired Lozoya and his company, Super Events Photography, 11 months ago. She wanted Lozoya to photograph a very special family gathering that centered around her mom.

"It was her 80th birthday and that's why we started it," Mata said. "It's her 80th, let's do something really spectacular."

So Mata and her family decided to throw a huge surprise party to honor their mother and they added many special touches like invitations, mementos and, perhaps the most important to them, a photographer to capture this very special event.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime memory in pictures and video for everyone to see and to share," Mata said.

But after shelling out $450 to Lozoya, Mata says she doesn't have much to remember her mom's birthday.

All she has are a few snapshots and home video luckily taken by family members.

"I just get so emotional every time I look at this," Mata said. "This is all we have and it's only about 10 minutes and it doesn't even capture a minute amount of the evening's events."

Now, the good news is Lozoya did show up and take pictures, but Mata says 11 months later, he refuses to hand over anything.

He won't even return phone calls.

Which brings us back to our run-in with Lozoya, who apparently thinks the issue is a joke.

We kept asking Lozoya about the pictures and finally he said, "The truth of the matter is I have the material and we've tried to get together and weren't able to get together."

Really? Tell Mata that.

"He was not returning my calls!" she said.

Remember, Mata says this has been going on now for nearly a year and she worries that her mom's precious moment, a moment that was supposed to be captured by a professional photographer, is lost.

Not to mention the $450 she paid.

After we confronted Lozoya, Mata says he did call her and said he had to find her photos in storage and when he did, he would get them to her.

We'll let you know if that happens.