A fugitive Eastern European private club owner wanted for his role in a ring that used sexy bar girls to swindle South Beach tourists was arrested by the FBI on Thursday.
Alex Simchuk,45, described as a “Latvian kingpin,” was taken into federal custody at around 2 p.m. at Miami International Airport, the FBI said.
It’s unclear if Simchuk, suspected of having ties to the Russian mob, was entering or leaving the country.
He had been at large since April 2011, when police dismantled his profitable ring.
Prosecutors said Simchuk and other employees used “B-girls” to lure South Beach tourists into Simchuk’s private clubs and then had them spend thousands of dollars in drink charges.
One victim was charged $43,000 on his credit card, according to a 2011 affidavit One bottle of champagne cost $5,000. In return, the B-Girls pocketed 20 percent of what they brought in and the private club managers kept 10 percent of the take.
The ring was broken up last year and nearly 20 people, including the women, were arrested. Simchuk remained at large.
The Miami Beach private clubs implicated in the alleged racket after last year’s bust were: Caviar Bar, 643 Washington Ave.; Stars Lounge, 643 Washington Ave.; Club Moreno, 1341 Washington Ave.; Nowhere Bar, 653 Washington Ave.; Steel Toast, 758 Washington Ave. and Tangia Club, 841 Washington Ave.
Most of the clubs, which were not open to the general public, are no longer in business.
According to an FBI release, Simchuk is expected to be in federal court in Miami on Friday to face federal charges.