Drugged, Scammed by Beautiful Women: Weatherman Tells His Story

Man explains his unwitting entanglement with alleged Eastern European gangsters.

ByABC News
March 26, 2012, 3:45 PM

June 1, 2012 — -- John Bolaris was a TV weather forecaster in Philadelphia, but even he could not predict the intentions of two comely women that approached him at a luxury hotel bar in Miami.

He woke up two days after the encounter with little memory and even less money -- allegedly drugged twice on consecutive nights and charged more than $43,000 on his credit card.

Bolaris had become another mark in a scheme run by an alleged Eastern European crime ring.

Hours of FBI surveillance videos and photos obtained by ABC News show how the group of so-called bar girls, known as "b-girls," lived and operated in South Beach -- targeting wealthy male tourists and bilking them of thousands of dollars.

Watch the full updated story on "20/20: Cat and Mouse" FRIDAY at 10 ET

"They came across very cutesy, and very sincere, and very nice, like the girls next door," Bolaris recalled of his alleged scammers in an interview with "20/20." "This wasn't a hooker-type thing."

The FBI said Bolaris was one of 88 men preyed on by a crime ring that illegally brought in attractive women from eastern Europe and used them to lure men from Miami hotspots like the Hotel Delano, Clevelander and Fontainebleau to shady clubs nearby where the girls plied their alleged victims with liquor, forged their signatures and charged them "exorbitant prices" for alcohol.

PHOTOS: The Alluring Women of an Eastern European Crime Ring

Bolaris' stranger-than-fiction story began when he vacationed in Miami in March 2010. Bolaris, age 52 at the time of the incident, said he was having a drink at a South Beach bar when he was approached by two women with Russian-sounding accents.

"They come over and they said, 'Do you want to do a shot?' And I go, 'No I don't want to do a shot,'" he told "20/20."

But the women persisted.

"One comes behind me, she rubs my shoulders, pulls back my head and says, 'Come on, do a shot.' And I said, 'All right, I'll do a shot.'"

After a few drinks, Bolaris and the women piled into a taxi heading to another bar. On the way, Bolaris said, the women asked if he wouldn't mind stopping to see a painting a friend was selling for charity. Bolaris said yes, but then the weatherman's memory becomes cloudy.

"I remember standing up ... signing something, vaguely," he recalled. "Next thing I know, I'm in a cab with a big painting [of a woman's head]."

Bolaris said he did not regain full consciousness until the next morning, when he awoke in his own hotel suite.

"I had red wine on my shirt, fully clothed," he said. "Now I'm thinking: Something happened, but what?"

Then, to his surprise, he received a call from the b-girls offering to return his sunglasses that they had inadvertently taken.

"How bad can they be?" he thought at the time, he told "20/20."

Bolaris himself wanted to return the painting and agreed to meet up with the girls again that evening. According to Bolaris, they met him at the hotel and took a cab together to return the piece of art. On the way, the girls disembarked at an unmarked storefront and "whistle[d]" at him to join them inside.

"And next thing I know, I'm passed out," said Bolaris.

He woke up on March 30 feeling "very sick" and "extremely worried" because he had no recollection of the previous night.

Instead of hearing from the girls again, Bolaris received a call from his credit card company, American Express, detailing charges of $43,712.25, including a $2,480 charge for the painting.