Cyprus Mail

Police catch up with hotel scammer

By Constantinos Psillides

Ioannis Shacolas, 40, who was wanted in connection with a hotel scam, was arrested on Thursday night, Limassol police said.

Shacolas was on Friday released by the court and ordered to appear for a hearing on October 23. His travel documents were confiscated.

He had stayed at a luxury beach hotel in Limassol from July 31 to August 30 and had run up a tab of €6,250 which he never paid.

Shacolas appears to have told the hotel management that his expenses would be covered by a well-known known local businessman. He even faked a call to the hotel by pretending to be the businessman in question, asking whether his ‘acquaintance’ had checked in at the hotel, police said.

But when hotel management contacted the businessman after Shacolas’ disappearance they were told that he had no knowledge of the 40-year old. The hotel then reported the case to the authorities.

While it was originally believed that the businessman in question was Cyprus’ top entrepreneur Nicolas Shacolas – to whom the suspect is not related – police sources told the Cyprus Mail that in this instance he claimed that he was acquainted with Antonis Fanieros, a well-known Larnaca businessman.

When Shacolas called the hotel, he imitated Fanieros distinctive raspy voice to convince the hotel’s management, said the police source.

They said Shacolas had actually scammed hotels in the past by claiming that he was related to Nicos Shacolas, and had his name legally changed to ‘Shacolas’ some years ago,  the police sources said.

Limassol police spokesperson Ioannis Soteriades told the press on Wednesday that Shacolas had gone to prison for his scams but went back to his old tricks after his release.




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