(Update: James Stern has been arrested in Rhode Island. Read more about that in the Oct. 25 edition of the Cape Cod Times. Below is the original story). 

WEST YARMOUTH — Ashley Veilleux found James Stern on a pair of wedding websites and booked him as part of a package deal to perform her Cape Cod wedding ceremony.

He was responsive and involved in the beginning, when she booked him in January for her September wedding, with fiance David Mellen, at the Red Jacket Beach Resort in South Yarmouth. But once she put some money down, Stern fell off the grid, she said.

“I couldn’t even get a hold of him the week of the wedding,” Veilleux said.

Stern, 39, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, did make the rehearsal of Veilleux’s September wedding, but was unkempt, unshaven and scattered, she said.

She felt in her gut that something was wrong, but went forward with the ceremony. But Stern never did set up the uplighting, and she still hasn’t received the USB of the photo-booth pictures that were promised as part of the deal.

It turns out, according to police, Stern was never licensed to perform weddings in Massachusetts, and even allegedly used Veilleux’s bridesmaids’ credit cards, spending hundreds of dollars.

A night that was supposed to be one of the best of her life turned into evidence that Yarmouth police have used to take an arrest warrant out for Stern.

Stern is now wanted for larceny of $1,200 by false pretense and impersonating a public official, in connection with Veilleux's wedding, police announced on Tuesday.

Her wedding license was never filed, and because he couldn’t legally perform marriages, Veilleux remains unmarried.

“It was just a complete shock,” she said. “We’re not legally married.”

Police checked Stern’s records and found that he has 51 entries on his record in Massachusetts for similar crimes, including identity fraud, fraudulent use of a credit card and larceny, going back to 1994.

Stern also has a warrant out of New Jersey for burglary, and has criminal records in Rhode Island and Connecticut, police wrote in a statement.

Veilleux’s wedding was on Sept. 15. Stern was in a Rhode Island court for fraud and larceny involving other wedding parties just three days before, according to the Newport Daily News.

A person who normally scours reviews online, Veilleux, of Agawam, is now in the midst of planning another wedding in Dennis Port for November.

“We wanted the Cape initially and we’re going to stick with that,” she said.

And, although she'll get married for real this time, she’ll never get back that day.

“This man is in our photos and our videos,” she said. “That’s something that can’t be fixed.”

Stern had great recommendations on the wedding websites, and was even named Newport Wedding Magazine officiant of the year, according to his website. Now more negative reviews and others telling similar stories have started to emerge; his page on The Knot, a prominent wedding website, is down. 

With Yarmouth police adding to the charges against Stern, Veilleux hopes that the nightmare she went through will help protect others from falling into the same trap, she said.

“I feel like we’re getting justice for everything that’s happened,” she said.

Anyone with information about Stern is asked to contact Yarmouth police Detective Michael Wells at 508-775-0445, extension 2358, or by email at mwells@yarmouth.ma.us.

— Follow Ethan Genter: on Twitter: @EthanGenterCCT.