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New York Eateries Deservedly Hit With Coffee Spill Scam

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Upon hearing that a scam artist is targeting Manhattan restaurants to gain some extra cash, it's difficult for an average New Yorker to offer up much sympathy. Having dined in areas ranging from the West Village to Midtown to TriBeCa to the Upper East Side, most patrons can honestly say $16 plus tax is a tad high for a grilled chicken sandwich. As such, restaurant owners have to expect a little blowback from their exorbitant prices.

And to no one's surprise, one scam artist has emerged, hoping to shave a few bucks off his tab.

Going by the extremely unconvincing alias John Maffia, the scammer claims that a waiter spilled coffee on him and sends the bogus cleaning bill to NY restaurants. The cost: a measly $38.50 -- the price of a fettuccine alfredo with three lonely shrimp.

And again, to no one's surprise, restaurateurs aren't falling for the ruse. Or to be more accurate, they're not sending any money.

Frank Becer, proprietor of M.B. Fashions Valet -- the cleaners where the bill originated -- told the New York Post that restaurant owners are contacting him about the coffee stain.

"I keep telling them, 'Don't pay! It's a scam!' " Becer told the Post.

But as long as they're charging $28 for a flourless chocolate cake, I don't think Becer needs to worry about owners playing loose with their funds.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.