Remember the Eastern European B-Girls who worked for a Russian mob that allegedly set up fake nightclubs on Washington Avenue to rob single male tourists of tens of thousands of dollars? As if you could forget.
Today comes news from Philadelphia that among the dozens of victims was John Bolaris, a prominent TV weatherman. Turns out Bolaris may have brought the whole enterprise crumbling down by fighting tooth and nail the $43,000 in charges made on his card after he was drugged with roofies at the Delano.
As Bolaris tells his story to The Philadelphia Daily News, he was staying at the Fontainebleau last March when two of the defendants in the case, Marina Turcina and Anna Kilimatova, started casing him.
At the Delano, where he was eating dinner, the pair heard other diners recognize him as a weatherman and used that as their in. Bolaris ordered the women wine and moments later, he says, they struck. From The Daily News:
"We were sitting by a pool bar, and they asked if I did shots," Bolaris said. "I said no.
"One of them started rubbing me, opened my mouth, and said, 'Do [a] shot.' "
It was days before Bolaris figured out that the women had slipped him a roofie, the infamous date-rape drug.
Bolaris says the next two days are a blur. He vaguely remembers the women taking him to a "charity event" and being propped up to sign something. Then, he says, "I woke up in a taxi. My shirt was stained with red wine, and I had this huge painting of a woman's head."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Confusingly, Bolaris for some reason agreed to meet the women again the next day when they said he'd forgotten his sunglasses. They drugged him a second time, he says. When he got back to Philly, he found the $43,000 in charges to his card and was "apoplectic."
Bolaris' credit card company, American Express, refused to believe his story and said they'd received pictures of him drinking at Caviar Bar -- one of the fake clubs set up by the Russian ring. (A tactic the gang surely must have used when other victims challenged their hefty card charges.)
Only when Bolaris approached the FBI did he get anywhere. He agreed to testify to a grand jury, which likely led to the April indictment of 17 alleged members of the ring -- including Isaac Feldman, the prominent Sunny Isles realtor and would-be politician whose story we brought you last month.