The feds yesterday finally caught fugitive Alex Simchuk, who faces charges of using several Eastern European women -- known as B-girls -- to swindle male Miami Beach tourists out of big money.
The FBI alleges Simchuk, a Latvian national with alleged ties to the Russian mob, hired the women to lure men to several clubs he controlled, get them drunk, and then fleece them out of their money.
Above is a photo from case records taken at one of those clubs that you won't find anywhere else. Several B-girls were charged with crimes and are expected to testify against Simchuk if the case goes to trial.
The best-known victim in the case is former Philadelphia weatherman John Bolaris, who wound up at one of the clubs two nights in a row with credit card charges totaling about $43,000. He wound up buying bottles of wine for thousands of dollars and a painting. Here's an excerpt from a Daily Mail article on the case:
He explained: 'They come over and they said, "Do you want to do a shot?" And I go, "No I don't want to do a shot". Then one comes behind me, rubs my shoulders, pulls back my head and says, "Come on, do a shot". And I said, "All right, I'll do a shot".'
After having a few drinks with the women they took him in a taxi to their friend's art shop. He said after that the details are very sketchy.
'I remember standing up ... signing something, vaguely. Next thing I know, I'm in a cab with a big painting [of a woman's head].
'Then I woke up, I had red wine on my shirt, fully clothes and I'm thinking - something happened, but what?'
Surprisingly, one of the 'B-girls' called him to say she had his sunglasses and they agreed to meet up later so he could return the piece of art.
He said he got in a taxi with them and 'next thing I know I'm passed out'. He woke up next morning feeling sick and very worried before receiving a call from American Express to tell him $43,712.25 had been charged to his card, including $2,480 for the painting.
American Express wouldn't let him dispute the charges because a man called Stan Pavlenko - who was later arrested in the case - supplied them with a photo of the weather man at the bar showing he was using his own card.
'I could have rolled over and taken it, but I did not, I fought back,' he told ABC.
Bolaris is expected to be a witness in the case as well.