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Man Jailed For Faking Heart Attacks To Avoid Payin


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Man Jailed For Faking Heart Attacks To Avoid Paying For Meals

POSTED: 8:17 am EST January 24, 2005

MACHIAS, Maine -- A 54-year-old man who routinely complained of fake chest pains to avoid paying the tab for restaurant meals may have gotten his just desserts.

A judge sentenced Elias I. Elias on Friday to 90 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to theft of services.

The sentence followed the recommendation of District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh, who said the Aug. 5 incident at the Townhouse Restaurant marked the 13th time that Elias tried to skip out on the check by pretending he had trouble breathing and was having a heart attack.

"He has 18 convictions just since 2003," the year Elias moved to Maine from California, and has been jailed numerous times, Cavanaugh said.

Authorities said Elias would order dinner and drinks, eat and enjoy, then fake his need for medical assistance when the check arrived. He would be taken to a local hospital but usually left before police arrived.

Elias' court-appointed attorney, Jeffrey Davidson, told the judge that the homeless and unemployed man just wanted to eat a restaurant meal "like anybody else."

"Even if he didn't have dignity, he wanted to feel like he did," Davidson said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

wftv.com

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