Pensioners run up €170k chalet bill, then run off

Pensioners run up €170k chalet bill, then run off
Three pensioners from the French Riviera are on the run after runnign up €170k bill at a luxury Swiss Chalet. Photo: Triumph Mountain Properties/Flickr
It’s one thing doing a runner from a restaurant without paying the bill, but it’s a different matter running up a €170,000 bill over two months at a luxury ski chalet in the Swiss Alps and then disappearing as three pensioners from the French Riviera have done.

Could you do with two months in a luxury chalet in the Swiss Alps? Health treatments, massages, vintage champagne, silk sheets and a limousine service?

That’s the lifestyle three pensioners from the French Riviera enjoyed for two months in luxury Swiss chalet.

The three retired rogues from the Côte d’Azur lived like kings for 60 days and left behind a hefty bill of €170 000 after their two month stay in a 5 star, €12,000-a-week chalet in the Swiss mountain resort Crans-Montana.

But when it came to settling up they didn’t hand over a penny and instead signed an “acknowledgement of debt" to the owner.

Then they went on the run.

"The real identity of these people is entirely unknown, just like all the crooks in the world" Patrick Bérod, director of hoteliers in the region, told The Local.

“They are no longer in Switzerland and are probably in France or hopping between other destinations worldwide,” he said.

“It will be very difficult for the hotel to get even a centime of its money back, and it has probably already written it off.”

Berod said the sum of the swindle was a record, before admitting that con men regularly pull these kind of tricks, if not for quite as much as €170,000

Often the con artists take good care to cover their tricks and present a false image in order to deceive the luxury establishments.

“They arrive in helicopters they haven’t paid for elsewhere, or in swanky cars – Rolls-Royces or Ferraris with a hired chauffeur at the wheel” the director of Crans-Montana explained. 

The three retired fugitives weren’t stingy on the extras, treating themselves to all that was on offer. “It was things like confectionary with vintage champagne, health treatments,  massages, silk sheets and the limousine service” a representative from the tourist office explained.

They have already been sentenced by a Swiss court to swindling, but remain on the run.

Swiss police have not ruled out asking their French counterparts to help in tracking down the three fugitives.

by Isy Orange

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