Alec Simchuk, accused in John Bolaris bar scam, has criminal past in Montgomery County

John Bolaris says he can't wait to testify against the criminal syndicate that scammed him. Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer
John Bolaris says he can't wait to testify against the criminal syndicate that scammed him. Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer
Posted: August 09, 2012

TURNS OUT Alec Simchuk, the Miami club owner the FBI just arrested for his alleged involvement in a criminal organization that scammed tourists like former Fox 29 meteorologist John Bolaris, has a criminal history in Montgomery County.

In 2002, Simchuk was sentenced to five years' probation for defrauding State Farm Insurance and was ordered to pay $138,000 in restitution after a Mercedes that Simchuk had reported stolen turned up in Russia.

Simchuk told jurors that he had shipped as many as 10 luxury cars to Russia in a scheme involving his ex-wife, Kristina Farber, and her father, Anatoly Farber, and a Los Angeles lawyer named Alex Van Kovn, according to an Inquirer report.

Simchuk avoided a possible two-year prison sentence by testifying against his alleged co-conspirators, all of whom were acquitted.

In May 2010, Bolaris was in Miami when his American Express card was charged more than $43,000 after he was urged to "Do shot" by two Eastern European hotties. He was then drugged and scammed by the two women. The weatherman, who is hoping to find TV work in town, is looking forward to testifying Oct. 9 in federal court in Miami against the criminal syndicate.

Out and about

Singer Alicia Keys stopped by Jar Bar (113 S. 12th St.) with a girlfriend Friday night. She picked up a sprouted hummus wrap, Asian kale salad, Mexican fiesta salad, two chocolate smoothies and assorted fruit juices at the new raw-foods restaurant and juice bar.

Keys was in town with her husband, producer Swizz Beatz, who was at Ubiq (1509 Walnut St.) for an event at which Julius Erving helped unveil a new Converse leather line.

Dr. J and Beanie Sigel, Freeway and Young Chris appeared Saturday afternoon at the Converse block party at 52nd and Market streets.

Speaking of Beanie ...

Sigel's new CD, "This Time," drops Aug. 28, two weeks before the South Philly rapper reports to federal prison to serve two years for tax evasion.

Sigel's record will be released by the recently resurrected Ruffhouse label, which in the 1990s issued multiplatinum records by the Fugees, Lauryn Hill and Cypress Hill and also was home to Philly rappers the Goats. Former Ruffhouse CEO Chris Schwartz is back running the label, which is now distributed by EMI.

Ruffhouse spokesman Randy Alexander said there was no truth to online rumors that Sigel is broke and living with his mother or hooked on "sizzurp," slang for a drink of cough syrup with codeine mixed with soda that is popular among some rappers.

Boehner in the 'burbs

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner stopped at the General Warren Inne in Malvern on Monday night. Boehner's large Secret Service detail was posted inside and outside the historic restaurant, which opened in 1745. Boehner shook a few hands at the restaurant and ate in a party of four seated in a private dining area. He was in the area to stump for local GOP candidates.

Victorino hints at return

Melissa Victorino, wife of Shane Victorino, joined Atlantic City Alliance President Liza Cartmell on Friday for a luncheon at Wolfgang Puck American Grille at Borgata in Atlantic City. Victorino was emotional as she spoke with her friends about moving to Los Angeles, where her husband now plays for the Dodgers. She pledged that the Shane Victorino Foundation would continue its charitable doings in the Philly area.

Victorino added that "Shane will be a free agent after the season, and you never know what Ruben [Amaro Jr.] has up his sleeve. We might be back here."

This idea produced the loudest applause of the afternoon.

Read Dan's latest at PhillyGossip.com, philly.com/dangross, @PhillyGossip on Twitter or at Facebook.com/dangrossphillygossip. Have a tip? Email DGross@phillynews.com or call 215-854-5963.

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