Tag Archives: Orange is the new black

Vegan Bernie Madoff????

Sarma Melngailis appeared to have it all.  I think she did until she didn’t.  Sarma was the darling of the vegan world in NYC.  She was loved by Bill Clinton, Alec Baldwin and many other foodies for her culinary skills.  MeIngailis was the proprietor of Pure Food and Wine in Gramercy.
Sarma is currently sitting in Rikers jail with a $350k bail for an alleged $2 million embezzlement from her own restaurant.  How did this happen?  Many say it happened because of a relationship.  Remember how in Dorothy Zietz’s book she categorized various embezzlers?  Is MeIngailis a Romantic Dreamer or Victim of Pressure or Persuasion?
A Romantic Dreamer according to Zietz is one who is impelled to protect the health or welfare of a loved person.  Zietz also goes on “these women were not primarily concerned with the real needs of significant persons (for example, a need for medical care).  But instead they sought either to preserve for themselves what they considered their most important possession-a husband’s love, or to enhance a relationship with a lover or a relative…these women had also been conditioned to believe that preservation of a relationship with a beloved person justified any necessary sacrifice of personal values or positions of trust.  (Zietz 1981)
Victims of Persuasion or Pressure were women who accepted positions of trust in good faith, but subsequently violated that trust in response to some form of pressure exerted by another person…the coercive demands or fear-inspiring threats of a husband or lover provided the impetus for criminal behavior.  (Zietz 1981)
“It’s the worst nightmare you can think of,” Melngailis revealed to The Post in an exclusive jailhouse interview Saturday morning at Rikers. “If I had terminal cancer, it would be better than this, because at least [then] I did not cause it.” http://nyp.st/20sd2DV courtesy of NY Post.
Although she says she didn’t order Dominos Pizza before her arrest it seems her life started spiraling out of control when she met Anthony Strangis in 2013.  “Things were going well when I was single,” admits Melngailis, though she wouldn’t cite Strangis’ involvement in her downfall.
MeIngailis, 43, appears to be a bit of a cougar to Strangis, 35.  Strangis has previous arrests by law enforcement.  Strangis allegedly posed as a cop in 2005 and also had a couple arrests for Grand Theft.  After Strangis came on the scene, “[Melngailis] would go on more trips. [She] definitely became more elusive, less concerned with the well-being of the company,” says a line cook.
“She’s the vegan Bernie Madoff,” says Benjamin Dictor, attorney for a group of ex-Pure workers. According to the indictment, 84 of them are owed a collective $40,000.
A former director of operations at Pure Food and Wine alleges Strangis and Melngailis stole with a vengeance.  “There’d be times when I’d come in on a Monday and get a text or call from [Strangis], ‘Don’t deposit the money. You have to meet me here with the money,’ ” recalls the director. “I wouldn’t meet him at the company bank. I’d meet him at the CitiBank, where he had a personal account.”
While it’s inarguable that Melngailis got wrapped up with the wrong guy, those “friends” say her carefully cultivated public persona hid some deeper demons.
Her ex-boyfriend Kenney told Page Six in 2005 that Melngailis physically attacked him on multiple occasions.
When Melngailis asked for a vegan diet at Rikers, her request was denied. She says she makes do with peanut butter sandwiches, bananas, apples and fresh-sliced cucumber.
Good people do bad things and bad people do good things.  That is important to remember when  you are a small business owner.  MeIngailis appeared to have it all but then it changed.  Although she was the primary owner of the business the investors and employees have lost out.  It seems there were “pink flags” in her behavior.  It has been said that some women start stealing for a relationship issue.  This may be the case for MeIngailis.  I’m sure we will find out soon enough in the papers.
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Stealing from nuns for lingerie and leasing a sports car

An Orange County real estate consultant who stole $285,000 from Roman Catholic nuns and used it to buy lingerie and lease a sports car was convicted Tuesday of three counts of wire fraud.

After a three-day trial, a federal jury in Santa Ana convicted Linda Rose Gagnon, also known as Linda Gualtieri-Gagnon, 59, of defrauding the U.S. Province of the Religious of Jesus and Mary.

Asst. U.S. Atty. Robert Keenan said Gagnon told the nuns in 2008 that she was an expert in handling short-sale and foreclosure transactions and offered to help them buy a small home in San Diego they were renting for retired sisters in the religious order.

But Gagnon did not use the order’s funds to purchase the retirement home. Instead, she used it to buy lingerie, lease an Audi and pay off debts for her real estate finance company, Rose Enterprise, Inc. according to Keenan.

After only 64 days, Gagnon spent the entire sum — $285,000, he said.

“She paid off $42,000 she borrowed. There was $448 at Chadwick’s of London, an intimate apparel store in San Francisco. Then she went shopping at Nordstroms, visited the nail salon and of course a pet-sitting service…. She also leased an Audi TT sports car,” Keenan said. “She was living nicely on the nuns’ money.”

The nuns, after initially accepting Gagnon’s explanations for delays in the home purchase, realized they had been defrauded when she did not respond to their messages. The order specializes in charitable and educational work. 

At one point, Gagnon told the nuns she needed another $285,000 to buy the San Diego residence, saying the original $285,000 was tied up in a “triple escrow” on another property.

Throughout the trial, Gagnon’s lawyer portrayed her as operating a bad business and accidentally comingling the funds. Gagnon did not testify, but two Catholic priests took the witness stand to attest to her character, Keenan said. They assured the court “she is really quite honest,” he added.

At sentencing next February, Gagnon could receive up to 20 years in prison for each of the three counts. Keenan said a more realistic sentence would be about four years total.

Keenan said the nuns eventually had to come up with another $255,000 to buy the home, which is about three miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Women are taking over the (comedy) world…

The iconic Harvard comedy club, The Lampoon, is now being run by two women. Eleanor Parker, and President Alexis Wilkinson.  Women are making such inroads in all areas of life and now it includes The Lampoon.  What does this mean for women?  This change sends a signal that women are welcome in what have been traditionally a testosterone structure according to the story on the Today Show,


So what does this have to do with Pink Collar Crime?  This is just another stepping stone for women in the workplace.  And if you have been following this blog I think it is another step for women to reach even higher levels of success.   When will there be a Bernice Madoff?  As Freda Adler told me it is just a matter of time before we meet Bernice Madoff.  Stay tuned for bigger embezzlements perpetrated by women who are in higher levels of trust and money just like women being in the higher levels of comedy. 

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PI’s Declassified Catch Her If You Can Today’s Pink Collar Criminal

On Thursday, January 9, 2014, I will be talking with PI’s Declassified Francie Koehler about our favorite topic-Pink Collar Criminals.  The show starts at 9:00am Pacific time.  I hope you can either hear it live or catch it later as a podcast.  What a great way to start 2014.  This year is going to be a breakout year for Pinkcollarcrime.com.  Look forward to lots of blog postings, speaking engagements and a book! 

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Who is reading this blog??

I have been asked to see who is reading the blog and if you might relate to the blog because you have been convicted of this type of theft. 

 Are you the last person someone would expect has been to prison?

*Did you feel like you didn’t “fit in” while you were incarcerated?

*Were your family and friends shocked that you were even arrested?

*Were you charged with a “white collar” crime?

*Did you do time because of something your husband, boyfriend or best friend did?

If this sounds like you or someone you know – we want to hear from you!

A groundbreaking production company is currently searching for stories from women between the ages of 25-55 for a new documentary television show that will challenge conventional thought about the “type” of person who does time.

If are interested in sharing your story and shedding light on your unique experience please contact us. At this time all information is PRIVATE and CONFIDENTIAL and will NOT be used for broadcast unless specified in writing at a later date. For now, we just want to hear your story and you will be completely ANONYMOUS if you prefer.

There is pay if you are selected and agree to be on the show.

If you fit in the above categories please contact me at Kelly@financialcaseworks.com.  I will pass your information on to the casting company.  We would love to talk with you. 

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