American imposter runs upEUR 40,000 in Berlin hotel bills

26th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

26 August 2004 , BERLIN - A 31-year-old American man was in a Berlin jail cell Thursday after allegedly running up about EUR 40,000 in bills at luxury hotels in the German capital by claiming he was a visiting dignitary or bank executive. The imposter is also accused of having obtained some USD 15,000 in travellers cheques using fake ID and bogus credit cards. The man, identified only as Michael A., is reported to be wanted in other European countries as well as the United States and Singapore on similar c

26 August 2004

BERLIN - A 31-year-old American man was in a Berlin jail cell Thursday after allegedly running up about EUR 40,000 in bills at luxury hotels in the German capital by claiming he was a visiting dignitary or bank executive.

The imposter is also accused of having obtained some USD 15,000 in travellers cheques using fake ID and bogus credit cards.

The man, identified only as Michael A., is reported to be wanted in other European countries as well as the United States and Singapore on similar charges of bluffing his way through dozens of first-rate hotels without paying a penny.

Police said he would e-mail a hotel to reserve a suite, giving a fraudulent credit card number. On arrival, he would claim he had been robbed and needed "pocket money" to tide him over for a few days.

Impressed by his sophisticated manner and classy clothes, hotel managers would hand over up to USD 1,000 in cash, putting the sum his hotel bill - which he never paid.

On departure, he would add generous tips to the credit card receipts, instructing the hotel desk to make sure the tips were distributed equitably. Hotel staff recall that he never tipped anyone in cash, stalling them with promises of big tips at the end of his stay.

"He had it down to a fine art," said Berlin prosecutor Michael Grunwald, who added that authorities in Germany had been on the man's trail for six months before he was finally apprehended this week.

The man, a high-school dropout, reportedly told police when as they clamped handcuffs on him: "Oh well, it was good while it lasted."

He now faces up to 10 years in prison.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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