'Dine & Dashers' Vanish After Racking Up $230,000 Hotel Bill

You’ve heard of dine and dash, right? It’s the practice of dining out at a restaurant and then dashing away before the check comes to avoid paying it. Well this story is like that, but on a much, much larger scale.

Three gentlemen recently spent two months living the high-life at a five-star Swiss chalet to the tune of $16,400 a week. When it was time to check out, the stealthy con artists left an “acknowledgement of debt” for the $230,000 they had racked up and vanished into the night.


The retirees claimed to be from the French Riviera before checking into the luxury hotel, where they indulged in such niceties as health treatments, massages, silk sheets, high-end dinners, and buckets of vintage champagne.

From The Daily Meal:

“Such a large sum is a record,” said Patrick Berod, director of hoteliers in the region. He said con men regularly dine and dash at luxury hotels, but €170,000, or over $230,000, was a new high. He said this type of con man usually covers his tracks well and presents an image of being a regular high-roller, often arriving in a helicopter or a Ferrari, which probably came from another hotel and hadn’t been paid for either. These guys padded their already high hotel bill with all manner of luxuries.

Ok, I get that this kind of thing can happen when you’re out to eat -- even at super fancy restaurants. I’ve never once been asked upfront to secure payment before noshing on shrimp cocktail. But I have traveled quite a bit over the last several years, and one of the first things they do at the check-in counter at hotels is put your credit card on file. Heck, you usually have to give them your payment information to even book the room!

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Is it really possible that these three scammers went two entire months without anyone asking for any sort of payment? Was the staff at the hotel too afraid of offending the perceived high-rollers to demand that they show them the money?

The whole thing is insane. A Swiss court has already found the interlopers guilty of swindling, but seeing as no one knows who they are or where they went, it’s doubtful they’ll serve any time.

Have you ever dined and dashed?

Image via Nik Stanbridge/Flickr

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