4 men suspected of contracting scam - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

4 men suspected of contracting scam

Four men were arrested after investigation revealed Nicolas Tsotos, 63; Thomas J. Stephanis, 70; Robert R. Crimmins, 67; and Jeffrey W. Blanton, 43; they received over $10,000 from several local victims after fraudulently representing themselves.

According to CPSO Tsotos, Stephanis, Crimmins and Blanton represented themselves as business owners, contacting several local small businesses regarding contracting opportunities to construct a new 30,000 square foot building in Lake Charles.  The men utilized several local hotels, and scheduled meetings with the victims to discuss estimates on construction work for the new building.  Under the pretense of waiting for other contractors to arrive at the meeting, the victims were convinced to participate in a "friendly" card game. After being encouraged to continue playing, the victims ended up losing money and were told they were responsible to pay the money owed from the game.  Through intimidation, the victims went to their banks with one of the men riding with them or following them to retrieve the money they owed.

Tsotos, Stephanis, and Crimmins were booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center and charged with 2 counts of theft over $1,500.  Blanton was arrested on a CPSO warrant at a motel in Lafayette by the Lafayette Police Department and the FBI.  In a search of the motel room, officers recovered steroids.  Blanton will answer to the drug charges in Lafayette before he is brought back to Lake Charles to face a charge of 1 count of theft over $1,500.

Stephanis, who was found in possession of CDS I (Xanax) at the time of his arrest, was also charged with prohibited acts all schedules.

Judge Kent Savoie set Tsotos, Crimmins, and Blanton's bond at $200,000, and Stephanis bond at $210,000.

The CPSO Vice Division believes there may be more people who are victims of this scam.  Anyone that has been scammed in this way is asked to contact CPSO Vice Division at 491-7960, Monday thru Friday from 8:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m.

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