The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Jayne and two of her assistants are being sued by a designer for allegedly conspiring with Secret Service agents and American Express in a fraud scheme, Life & Style can confirm.
Costume merchant Christopher Psaila, co-owner of Hollywood costume firm Marco Marco, claims that Erika, 52, and her estranged husband, Tom Girardi, “weaponized” current and former Secret Service agents to “maliciously prosecute” Psaila in April 2017 for alleged wire fraud and identity theft, according to court documents obtained by Life & Style. Psaila claims that Erika consented to have her American Express credit card charged for costumes and services he designed and supplied dating back to 2014, but the reality star accused him of making fraudulent charges for goods and services totaling $800,000 to $900,000.
Psaila further alleges that Erika and her assistants knew they purchased and received the goods and services, yet they falsely told federal agents and the credit card company that these charges were not authorized. This allegedly led to a “reckless investigation” by Secret Service agents Robert Savage, Kenneth Henderson and Steve Scarince, who Psaila claims concealed evidence that would have prevented his indictment or resulted in an acquittal.
Psaila also alleges that American Express failed to properly investigate Erika’s fraud claims and instead refunded her and her husband nearly $800,000.
“Tom Girardi was going bankrupt and used client settlement funds from his law firm, Girardi Keese, to pay for his and Erika (Jayne’s) extravagant lifestyle and personal bills,” the lawsuit read. “Thus, both Erika (Jayne) and Tom Girardi had a compelling reason to illegally claim that Chris Psaila and Marco Marco had defrauded them.”
Psaila was indicted on nine counts, including aggravated identity theft and wire fraud, in 2017. The charges against Psaila were later dismissed in September 2021, although he claims in the lawsuit that Erika’s allegations against him caused “extreme emotional distress, financial harm to his business and extreme emotional, psychological, and physical injuries.”
A spokesperson for American Express told the Los Angeles Times that the company “followed our regular processes and procedures” throughout the investigation and “did not play any role in the criminal investigation of Mr. Psaila or his business other than responding to inquiries from law enforcement.”
Meanwhile, Erika’s attorney, Evan C. Borges, told Life & Style, “It seems calculated that [Psaila] timed this lawsuit to coincide with the rave reviews of Erika’s Las Vegas residency opening. [Psaila’s] claims against Erika are entirely without merit. Independent federal prosecutors at the US Attorney’s Office made the decision to charge [Psaila] with crimes, no one else. The notion that Erika controlled the US government, or for that matter a Fortune 100 company such as American Express, is fantasy.”
Representatives for American Express did not immediately respond to Life & Style‘s request for comment.