“Real Housewives” star Erika Jayne and her Attorney Husband Sued for Fund Embezzlement
A federal lawsuit accuses Thomas Girardi — a prominent Los Angeles attorney — of fund embezzlement. Girardi and his firm have been sued for allegedly misappropriating funds owed to families of victims of a Lion Air Flight 610 crash. Girardi and his “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star wife, Erica Jayne, are also accused of using the funds to pay off loans and furnish their lavish lifestyle.
In October 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea, killing everyone aboard. The families of the crew members and passengers filed lawsuits against Boeing. Girardi’s firm — Girardi Keese — was hired to process the suit filing and assist the families in recovering their settlements. However, many of the family members allege that they did not receive the funds from Boeing.
The families hired Edelson PC to file a complaint against Girardi’s law firm, Girardi Keese, claiming that the firm pocketed the settlement money for personal use. The suit asserts breach of contract, unjust enrichment, interference with contract, and conversion. It demands the funds be either placed in a trust or disbursed to Edelson and Lion Air clients.
According to the complaint filed in an Illinois federal court, Girardi and his celebrity wife are being sued by Edelson PC on behalf of victims’ families. Girardi & Keese (GK) — Girardi’s law firm – is also named in the lawsuit. It claims that the firm and accused attorney “are on the verge of financial collapse and locked in a downward spiral of mounting debts and dwindling funds.”
Court documents indicate, “Tom has resorted to embezzling the proceeds of settlements that should have been directed to his clients — including, as the basis for this Complaint, the widows and orphans who lost loved ones in the tragic crash of Lion Air Flight 610 — in order to continue funding his and Erika’s lavish Beverly Hills lifestyles.”
The suit was filed by Edelson PC on Wednesday, December 2, 2020, in U.S. District Court in Chicago. It alleges Girardi has continued to refuse to hand over the funds despite the mounting demands.
Girardi married Jayne in 2000. The couple filed for divorce last month, citing irreconcilable differences. The suit calls the divorce “simply a sham attempt to fraudulently protect Tom’s and Erika’s money from those that seek to collect on debts owed by Tom and his firm.”
The suit claimed that Boeing processed individual settlements with the crash victims’ families, represented by Edelson PC and Girardi’s firm — but Girardi and his wife embezzled the funds instead of paying the clients. It alleges, “At the heart of this deception is Defendant Girardi and his need to fund outrageous lifestyles for himself and his soon-to-be ex-wife, Erika Jayne.” The suit also accuses the couple of filing their recent divorce only to protect their finances and that it is not the “first attempt by Tom to hide and divert assets.”