The Real Deal Miami

SoFla hotels targeted in man’s alleged summer-long scheme

October 03, 2013 11:00AM


SLS Hotel at 1701 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, and James Peter Sabatino

Several South Florida hotels were allegedly scammed out of thousands of dollars in goods and services over the summer. The suspect now faces charges of grand theft, organized fraud and unlawful sexual acts.

Miami Beach police say James Peter Sabatino convinced hoteliers he was a wealthy businessman looking to entertain corporate clients and that the bill should be charged to his employer. He and his posse would spend as much as $274,000 on credit – on champagne, steaks and room service — and then would disappear from the hotel, police said.

The hotels included the South Beach Hilton, SLS Hotel in Miami Beach, the Eden Roc in Miami Beach and the Hyatt Regency in Coral Gables.

The 36-year-old was arrested last week at a Coral Gables hotel while having consensual sex with a 17-year-old teenage girl, police told the Miami Herald. At the time of his arrest, he had two outstanding warrants.

A manager at the Hyatt saw a bulletin issued by the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association – and U.S. marshals – and recognized Sabatino as a recent guest. Authorities soon tracked him down. [Miami Herald]Mark Maurer