Erika Jayne and Ex Tom Girardi Sued for Allegedly Using Divorce to Embezzle Money From Crash Victims
By Zach Seemayer
Jerritt Clark/Getty Images
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Jayne and her estranged lawyer husband, Thomas Girardi, are facing allegations of embezzlement in a new lawsuit. ET has learned that the pair are also being accused of faking their split as a means of facilitating the alleged embezzlement.
The lawsuit was filed by law firm Edleson PC in an Illinois federal court on Wednesday, on behalf of several families who lost loved ones in the Lion Air Flight 610 crash, which occurred in October 2018.
Girardi allegedly embezzled settlement money that was supposed to go to the family members of the victims. Girardi and his wife are accused of using that money to fund their own lavish lifestyles and allegedly pay off loans to keep Girardi's law firm afloat.
According to court documents obtained by ET, "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 lawsuit also cites Girardi's law firm in the suit, which the documents claim is on "the verge of financial collapse and locked in a downward spiral of mounting debts and dwindling funds."
"While Erika publicly filed for divorce this month, on information and belief, that ‘divorce’ is 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 law firm," the lawsuit claims.
The plane crash in question occurred on Oct. 29, 2018, when a Boeing 737 MAX crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 198 people on board.
Jayne, 49, announced she'd filed for divorce from Girardi, 81, on Nov. 3, after 21 years of marriage.
"After much consideration, I have decided to end my marriage to Tom Girardi," Jayne told ET in a statement at the time. "This is not a step taken lightly or easily. I have great love and respect for Tom and for our years and the lives we built together."
"It is my absolute wish to proceed through this process with respect and with the privacy that both Tom and I deserved," she added. "I request others give us that privacy as well."
Jayne cited irreconcilable differences in her divorce filing. She is asking the court for spousal support and is also requesting that the court to terminate its ability to award spousal support to Girardi. In addition, she is asking that Girardi pay all attorneys' fees.
Jayne, 49, and Girardi, 81, tied the knot in 2000. She was also previously married to Thomas Zizzo, with whom she shares 26-year-old son Tommy.