A Miami court has sentenced James Sabatino for staying in several hotels without paying $594,000 in bills.
James Peter Sabatino, 37, left the Hilton Miami Beach last year without paying his $174,000 bill. As a result, he was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison, according to NBC Miami.
Sabatino checked into the Hilton on August 22, 2013, booking five rooms for a party of people and instructing the hotel to bill the Sony Entertainment corporate account. By the time Sabatino checked out nearly five weeks later, he’d amassed $174,000 in charges, over $100,000 of which was for champagne.
Once the hotel realized that Sabatino did not work for Sony, it alerted prosecutors, who had Sabatino arrested and charged him with first-degree grand theft and organized scheme to defraud.
This wasn’t the first time that Sabatino schemed his way through hotels. Hotel Online detailed the con man’s history of capers, which included a stay at the Miami’s Eden Roc, where he reserved rooms under a Warner Brothers account and failed to pay his $7,000 bill. Then there was Sabatino’s stay at the nearby SLS Hotel, where he told the establishment that he was with Roc-A-Fella Records. When he fled the SLS, he left behind a $16,000 tab. As part of his punishment for victimizing these and other properties, Sabatino must payback a total of $594,000.
Shortly after Sabatino was arrested last year for his Hilton offense, the Miami Herald reported that, while in jail, he convinced officials that the lazy eye he’d had since youth was the result of a stroke he suffered in jail. As a result, Sabatino received what appears to be a cosmetic procedure, courtesy of taxpayer money.
Sabatino told the Herald that when he gets out of prison in 2017, he plans on giving up his life of crime. “In all honesty, I have a lot more confidence now,” Sabatino explained, crediting his eye surgery. “I used to look down at the ground a lot. Now, I can look right at you, look you right in the eye.”
[Photo: Miami Herald]