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Hallmark Institute's Rosa Faces Bankruptcy, Fraud Charge


In addition to facing $2.2 million in fraud charges, George J. Rosa III, president and former owner of the Hallmark Institute of Photography, has filed for bankruptcy in his latest attempt to clear $3.6 million in personal debt.

Rosa originally filed for bankruptcy in August 2009, but his financial bargaining was delayed when the People's United Bank of Springfield (PUB) — a bank that had loaned him $2.2 million — sued him on charges of fraud.

As part of the grounds for the suit, PUB claims that Rosa kept multiple accounting books for Hallmark, one of which shows Rosa making counterfeit loan reimbursements and $1.9 million worth of false payments to "Mamiya America."

Looking to reclaim some of the lost loan repayments, PUB has begun to auction photographs from the Hallmark Museum of Contemporary Photography in Turners Falls, Mass., which closed around the same time Rosa filed for bankruptcy. No sales from these images have yet been reported.

Rosa's financial conundrum began long before he filed for bankruptcy. In the spring of 2009, he began bouncing checks and defaulting on loans. PUB quickly seized control of the photography institute and sold it to Philadelphia-based Premier Education Group (PEG). Although PEG kept Rosa on as president of the company, it is reported that he has received no asset gain from the sale, other than his $120,000 salary.

In addition to the fraud charges, Rosa's multimillion-dollar debt consists of extensive credit card debt, $300,000 in federal taxes owed, and unpaid bills.