Warrant issued for Mich. man in Nemacolin scam
Jeffrey Paul Cochran knew his 13-day ruse at a posh Fayette County resort was up when his phone rang one morning in May, according to a criminal complaint accusing him of impersonating two doctors and a golf pro to secure $16,146 in goods, services and lodging.
The caller was a Nemacolin Woodlands employee who thought the number was for a Uniontown physician who purportedly had arranged to pay for Cochran’s stay, police said.
But the number the employee called was Cochran’s, police said, tipping the Michigan man that his freeloading days in a $500-plus-per-night room at the Farmington resort were at an end.
“The resort attempted to contact the individual who set up the house account, which was (Cochran), at which point the actor immediately left the resort out the back door,” Trooper Stephen Shurgott said in an affidavit of probable cause.
Cochran, of Scottville, Mich., is charged by state police at Uniontown with theft by deception and theft of services. He is wanted on an arrest warrant issued on Thursday by North Union District Judge Wendy Dennis.
Cochran did not return a phone message seeking comment left at a number listed on the criminal complaint.
In the affidavit, Shurgott said Cochran called the resort and identified himself as Dan Renyolds, a Uniontown Hospital physician. He told them another doctor would be visiting the area to interview for a heart surgeon’s position at the hospital.
Cochran told Nemacolin the visiting doctor is a golf pro, and the resort made arrangements for him to stay at its Falling Rock hotel, police said. Renyolds was to pay for a house account the resort opened to accommodate the fictitious golf pro’s expenses, according to the affidavit.
Falling Rock hotel is near the 18th green of the resort’s Mystic Rock golf course. Rates for rooms booked online last spring range from $509 to $709 per night, according to the resort’s website.
“A tribute to the organic architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright, the AAA Five Diamond Falling Rock was designed with materials that emphasize natural elements,” according to Nemacolin’s website. “The 42 rooms and suites at Falling Rock are designed to rival your highest expectations.”
The hotel features an upscale steakhouse, bar and an outdoor terrace that overlooks a pool, the website shows. The Mystic Rock golf course formerly hosted the 84 Lumber Classic, a PGA Tour event.
Cochran arrived at the resort on May 15 but didn’t check into his room at Falling Rock until May 17, police said in the affidavit. During his 13-day stay through May 28, he charged $16,146 for “multiple items” from the resort’s golf shop, restaurants and spa.
Police noted that the phone numbers given to the resort for Renyolds and Cochran were the same.
“Cochran was seen leaving out the back door shortly after resort staff called the number for Dr. Renyolds in an attempt to obtain payment at approximately 10:30,” Shurgott said in the affidavit. “Cochran checked in at the resort on May 17 at the Falling Rock Hotel Room 1802 and charged a total of $16,145.51.”
A Fairchance man, Ian Picosky, 35, told police he golfed with Cochran at some point during Cochran’s stay. Picosky told police Cochran bragged about a woman he had met on a resort shuttle. As the two men golfed, the woman met them on the course, purportedly to let Cochran know she was leaving for Columbus, police said.
“Other than say ‘hi,’ Cochran and the female did not speak to each other,” Shurgott said in the affidavit. “The female had bleach blonde hair and appeared to have plastic surgery to her breasts and lips. Cochran said the female was staying with her son (6 years old), a daughter (9 years old) and mom.”
A search of online court records showed no one else has been criminally charged in connection with the alleged ruse.
Shurgott was not available for comment on Thursday afternoon.
Josh Krysak, Uniontown Hospital spokesman, said no doctor by the name of Dan Renyolds, or Dan Reynolds, has ever practiced at the hospital.
Jeff Nobers, resort spokesman, said such incidents are rare. The resort checks guests’ IDs and ensures their credit cards are valid, but it does not conduct extensive background checks, he said.
“He presented himself as someone. It was believable, and he did what he did,” Nobers said. “We’re just leaving it in the hands of the police.”
Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or [email protected].