To say that Angel uses paid actors undermines the idea that maybe he knows tricks that you don't. Sinful looks like it requires some type of setup, but it doesn't. His levitation is now for sale also. What makes the other effects so special that they couldn't just be like any other magic that you want to perform?
Criss Angel certainly knows tricks I dont, and I am sure I know tricks he doesn't. No magician knows everything.
The controversy isnt based on the idea that what he does cannot be done, its that it cannot be done in the way he pretends to do it.
For example, in one of his specials (the only one I have watched) he walks through a plate glass window. Now, of course this trick can be and has been done. But it cannot be done impromptu which is the way it is presented. In Angel's show we are led to believe that the owner of the business (who is present during this demonstration) is not in on the trick and that Angel just stopped there and decided to do some tricks cus he saw some people gathered around and saw an opportunity to do some impromptu magic. As magicians, we all know this didnt really happen that way and the owner of the store is very much in on it. This means it is likely that all of the people witnessing this illusion in person were in on it (since the audience was composed of "the owner" and "his friends or business associates").
Now, this is where it becomes a matter of opinion. Some people would say that although its ok to use stooges, when your entire audience is composed of stooges then you are no longer really performing magic, you are simply an actor/stuntman doing special effects on tv, no different from any other actor on a tv show that uses special effects. Others would say that it doesnt matter if they were all stooges because the true audience is composed of the people watching on tv. Which philosophy you believe in is a matter of personal opinion.
Personally, I believe that there is a clear distinction between magic and special effects. If you cannot do what you are doing on TV live, then what you are doing isn't really magic. If the audience is composed entirely or almost entirely of stooges, then you are not really being a magician, you are being an actor on a tv show about a guy who does magic. Others would disagree. Actually, Criss Angel has spoken about how he sees magic as being no different from movies, music, and other pop culture arts and he seeks to merge all of that. Therefore, he would almost certainly disagree with me and say that there is no difference between magic and movies, it is all entertainment.