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Conman Dupes Hotels With a Plan Straight Out of the Movie “Catch Me If You Can”

Nemacolin Woodlands ResortSometimes when watching a movie, people often wonder: “Can that be done in real life?” Usually, they leave it at that, but one conman had to see if he could bring what he saw on the big screen to life.

Conman Jeffrey Cochran recently racked up huge bills at luxury hotels. While he was there, he pretended to be a professional golfer and a heart surgeon. Before the bills would come, he would flee without paying a penny.

The idea comes straight from Hollywood blockbuster “Catch Me If You Can,” which stars Leonardo DiCaprio. In this film, Leonardo plays real life conman Frank Abagnale. This is a man who got away with cashing cheques by pretending to be a pilot and a doctor.

Police say that 41-year-old Cochran is accused of living in luxury hotels and running up huge bills by duping staff. He would still be out doing it if hotel staff hadn’t figured out his little scheme.

One of the hotels he stayed at was the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, which costs nearly £320 a night.  He ran up a bill that cost over £10,000 but left without paying anything. While at the hotel, he spent time playing golf, eating high-class meals and enjoying a luxury spa treatment. He only left the hotel after he figured out staff members were starting to run background checks on him, and they realized that he was not a doctor working for a local hospital.

This is a scam that he has been pulling all over the world. For example, he went to America and convinced staff at a Nebraska hotel that he was a surgeon on business in the states. Once again, he claimed that he worked at a local hospital and that the hospital would be picking up the tap. He stayed at the hotel for 47 nights and left without paying the bill of over £1,660.

While police were out looking for a fake doctor, Cochran switched his identity, pretending to be a professional golfer. More hotels in the United States started to come forward about being scammed by the man. The hotel reports finally revealed a pattern, and police were able to catch up to him.

Now, Cochran is in police custody and is due to appear in court this week. He has been charged with criminal theft of services by deception. His bail has been set at £95,000 on fear that he will run if released.

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