Jimmy Sabatino has spent most of his adult life living in fancy hotels or prison cells. For the next five years, he'll be in cell mode after spending much of last summer conning various Miami Beach hotels out of nearly $600,000.
It's just the latest in a long line of bizarre scams for the 37-year-old, whom New Times profiled last year.
"The easiest scam to pull off," Sabatino told us then, "is tell someone something they already wanted to believe."
Sabatino had only been released from more than a decade in federal prison in May 2013. He had spent years behind bars for similar hotel scams and then for conning Sprint out of millions of dollars while imprisoned.
His preferred con method was pretending to be an executive at a music label or movie studio. He'd show up at hotels with a forged note from the company that said everything would be charged to the corporate account. In the phone scam, he pretended to be a movie executive who needed phones for a new production but then had the phones sent to outside accomplices who then sold them.
Once released, it didn't take Sabatino long to get back to his old tricks. Over the summer, he pretended he was the new vice president of the Miami headquarters of Roc Nation, Jay Z's management company, which does not have a Miami operation. However, Sabatino would often tell hotels that he worked for other record labels, depending on the scam.
In August 2013, he checked into the Hilton Miami Beach and rented five rooms for five weeks and charged more than $100,000 worth of champagne alone to his bill. He also stayed at the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels.
His scams caught up to him, and just four months after his release, he was back behind bars.
This morning he was sentenced to five additional years in jail as part of a plea deal. Of course, Sabatino's scam days aren't over. He recently told the Miami Herald that while in jail, he pretended to suffer from migraines so he could have cosmetic surgery to correct a lazy eye, paid for by taxpayers.
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