A Latvian man is behind bars in Miami for his role in a massive scheme that bilked businessmen and tourists out of thousands of dollars by luring them to private South Beach clubs where they were defrauded.
Alec Simchuk, 45, was arrested Thursday afternoon at Miami International Airport for his involvement in the so-called "B-Girls" scheme, the FBI said.
He is in federal custody and was expected to make his first appearance in federal court on Friday, the FBI said. It was unknown whether he has an attorney.
Prosecutors charged 17 people in the alleged scheme to defraud last April, with Simchuk declared a fugitive after he was the only suspect who hadn't been arrested.
According to a criminal affidavit, the scheme was organized by South Beach club owners who brought women to Miami from Eastern Europe to work as "Bar Girls" or "B-Girls."
The B-Girls allegedly went to legitimate clubs and lured the businessmen and tourists to private clubs, where the unsuspecting victims were charged exorbitant prices for bottles of alcohol, including as much as $5,000 for a bottle of champagne.
With the liquor flowing, the B-Girls allegedly ordered bottles of wine and champagne and charged them to the victims' credit cards. Charges were often unsigned, unauthorized or signatures were forged, the feds say. At least one victim was charged as much as $43,000 in the scheme.
When victims disputed the charges, the suspects either threatened to have them arrested or gave photos of the victims in the club to credit card companies as proof of purchases, the affidavit said.