The last thing the director did before shouting "action" was serve Amber a slice of pizza. She understands now that it was a ploy: one final nod to normalcy before upending her life forever. But back then, at age 15, she was too distracted by the party and the promise of easy money to realize she had been duped into porn.
At first, she was told she would be in a music video, then that she'd be an extra in a strip scene. Sit in the background and smile, she recalls being told. All for an easy $100. Instead, the teen beauty queen soon found herself having sex on camera with a man nearly twice her age -- a man who would be accused of murder.
"I was manipulated," says Amber, now 18 years old. "They were putting digits in my face and throwing a good-looking guy at me. I was 15 and surrounded by temptation. It messed up my whole life."
Amber (not her real name) isn't alone. At least two other underage girls have appeared in films for Miami porn mogul Jeffrey Greenberg in the past three years, according to court and police records. Amber says the real number might be much higher.
Technically, of course, this is child pornography, and making it could carry up to ten years in prison. But for Greenberg, that risk appears to be just the cost of doing business. A certified public accountant who has never been convicted of a crime, he has become one of the biggest players in porn over the past decade.
As manager or director of Miami's two biggest sex studios, BangBros and Reality Kings, he presides over an estimated $18 million empire. His name is behind scores of websites specializing in everything from MILFs to Latinas to something titled Team Squirt. And because his companies film thousands of women per year, he is almost single-handedly responsible for South Florida's emergence as an epicenter of adult film.
When underage girls such as Amber get pulled into this vortex of vice, lawyers for Reality Kings or BangBros sometimes pay them to shut up, police and court records show. She won't divulge how much she received because she's afraid of losing the money, but her anger is audible in her carefully chosen words. "What they did to me was very, very wrong."
Neither Greenberg nor his attorneys would speak to New Times about claims by Amber and the other two girls. "BangBros takes age verification procedures very seriously," a spokeswoman told New Times.
Amber's nightmare began in January 2011. She was still in junior high, but the cute Cuban-American already looked far older than 15. Her dark hair spilled over a curvy frame, which the outgoing teen frequently flaunted in bikinis and tight dresses.
Her family wasn't so much broken as never formed in the first place. Less than a year after she was born in 1995, her 22-year-old, unmarried mother accused Amber's father of domestic violence. Seventeen months later, she sued him for paternity.
With her single mother working all the time, Amber was raised by her grandparents near Jackson Memorial Hospital. But the elderly couple's quaint apartment couldn't contain her. She began going to whatever clubs would let her in. It was the dark side to her beauty pageants, in which she would parade around in bathing suits and flash Vaseline smiles.
During a trip to the now-defunct downtown nightclub Mia, a man named Radrico gave Amber an older woman's driver's license. It opened a Pandora's box of premature adulthood.
In Miami, it seems the difference between clubbing with friends and filming porn is a fake ID and a sleazy dude. The latter was named Andy Bombino. He was a short 19-year-old with curly hair and a chin-strap beard that made him look like a leprechaun. In 2010, he was arrested for pot possession.
It's unclear whether Bombino knew Amber was only 15, but in interviews with police she described him as "a friend." It was Bombino, she later told detectives, who found a self-described "talent recruiter" named Teddy Cubillos online.
It wasn't difficult. Cubillos has at least five Facebook profiles featuring different spellings of his name and eerie, unsmiling pictures of him next to celebrities including Pitbull and Ricky Martin. All five sites are flooded with status updates asking for female extras for mysterious shoots and music videos.
On January 27, 2011, Bombino dropped off Amber and two friends -- one of them age 17 -- at a red-and-beige warehouse near Miami International Airport. They were met by Cubillos, who cast a cursory glance at her stolen ID, according to a police report. He then handed the girls over to Venetian Productions, a company contracted by BangBros to shoot porn for its websites. Amber signed a "performer agreement," another sheet titled "records keeping for models," and a W-9 under her assumed identity. Except for the tax form, all the documents were cosigned by Venetian Productions producer Amy Carroll. (Carroll hung up when contacted by New Times. Cubillos did not respond to repeated requests for comment, and Bombino could not be reached.)
Amber's first shoot was for a website called Haze Him. "It started off being college videos, like tailgating and stuff. It wasn't even sexual," she says. She made $100, went home, and returned six days later. The next time was different, however. She found herself in a room with dozens of other women, some of whom looked even younger than she. Someone passed around pizza. And then the hard-core porn began.
John Snavely sauntered into the circle of girls. Unknown to anyone in the room, Snavely had stabbed a man to death four months earlier in a drug-induced rage, authorities now believe. But today, he was busy swinging another sizable weapon. Snavely stripped off his banana hammock, began grinding on girls, and goaded them into going down on him.
"It didn't come to my mind that the first thing would be boom, some guy's thing in my face," Amber says. But with music blaring and -- at least in some videos -- alcohol flowing, Amber loosened up. After all, producers told her she could make $400 for a blowjob and $1,100 for full-on sex with Snavely.
Amber and Snavely had sex at least once onscreen, authorities say. Venetian Productions records contained in police reports reveal Amber had oral or vaginal sex in at least four shoots and appeared nude or masturbated in two others, making at least $3,000 under the screennames Josie Monroe and Monica Perez.
"I never thought I could do something like that," Amber admits. "But I was young, and young girls are a lot easier to talk into things, especially with money."
Her career in porn didn't last long, however. In March, Amber's grandfather received a disturbing phone call directing him to a website called the Dancing Bear. When he clicked on the Google results, up popped videos of his beloved nieta having sex with Snavely. He called Amber's mother, and she dialed the police.
But when cops showed up at the Venetian Productions studio, owner Olivier Caudron pleaded his innocence. He showed Miami-Dade Police photocopies of the ID Amber had used, as well as the forms she signed. As cops were talking to Caudron, Amber arrived at the studio for a shoot.
Confronted by police, she initially insisted she was the 19-year-old on the license. Finally, she broke down and copped to the fraud. She told the officers that no one at Venetian -- not even Snavely, whom she had been dating off-set -- knew her real age.
Cops interviewed Cubillos, the talent agent, but he denied knowing Amber was a minor. Caudron pulled her videos from the websites. And three assistant state attorneys -- Brad Sturges, Brenda Mezick, and Griska Mena -- advised detectives they could not charge anyone with a crime.
Florida statutes say "ignorance of a minor's age, a minor's misrepresentation of his or her age, a bona fide belief of a minor's age, or a minor's consent may not be raised as a defense in a prosecution for [child pornography]." Yet it's often a "proof problem," says Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office spokesman Ed Griffith. "Prosecutors have an ethical responsibility to believe they have sufficient evidence to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Lacking such evidence, it is unethical for a prosecutor to go forward."
Instead, Greenberg's attorneys came to a secret agreement with Amber's mother. The family was given an undisclosed amount of money in exchange for keeping quiet about the sordid underage sex affair. Snavely, meanwhile, was fired.
But what cops apparently didn't know was this wasn't the first child porn incident involving one of Greenberg's companies. One month before Amber's first shoot, Reality Kings had been sued by Sherrita Smalley, the mother of a 15-year-old girl from Nevada who had run away to Miami and used a fake ID to shoot porn under the name Bieyanka Moore. And then there was Amber's friend, a 17-year-old from Hialeah who didn't sue or go to the cops but is mentioned in a police report.
See also: Teen porn star Bieyanka Moore's disaster
"I know I wasn't the only girl," Amber says. "There were other underage girls I saw there that were using fake IDs. Out of a 1,000 girls they use [at Venetian Productions], probably a good 100 are underage. They weren't strong enough with their security measures."
Caudron isn't interested in talking about Amber or any other underage girls. "How did you get my number?" he asked when contacted by New Times. "I don't want to answer any questions about it." Caudron, who lives in a Di Lido Island mansion, then hung up.
Caudron and Greenberg may have escaped criminal charges for child pornography, but John Snavely might not. The porn star was arrested in July for allegedly killing millionaire Samuel Del Brocco during a private strip tease in Pompano Beach in 2010. Now detectives are investigating his relationship with Amber as well.
Amber blames the porn companies -- not Snavely -- for her ordeal. Friends stopped talking to her. She began skipping school. For weeks afterward, she and her mother didn't speak. "It's been a few years, so we try not to even talk about it now," she says. Amazingly, her beauty queen ambitions remain intact.
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Yet every time the pretty brunette attends a pageant, she wonders if her brief stint in porn will be thrown back in her face. "People know," she says. "It's just a question of putting my name to my face." When she was recently eliminated from a major competition, she wondered if word of her past had spoiled her chances.
"It's always going to be on the internet," she says with a shudder. "It's always going to be with me."