Where is Anthony Strangis now? The 'Bad Vegan' scammer speaks out about the Netflix docuseries

'He pled guilty to it, he owned up to it,' Strangis' attorney stated

Anthony Strangis of Bad Vegan. Where is Anthony Strangis now?
(Image credit: Netflix)

Got scammers on the brain? Join the club! We've been wondering, "Where is Anthony Strangis now?" all week.

If you've binged Bad Vegan, Netflix's tale of deceit and green eating, you're probably curious what's become of the conniving mastermind. Now that his infamous past has reemerged, so has Strangis.

Naturally, so has his wing woman. What happened to Sarma Melngailis is the talk of the town in the wake of the new Netflix scamming hit. We'll fill you in on where her former other half is now. 

Let's take a step back to 2004 and the birth of Pure Food & Wine. 

Melngailis was the brains behind the vegan dining destination in New York and amassed a fancy clientele and notable reputation. Things turned south when she connected with Shane Fox (real name Anthony Strangis) seven years later via Twitter. 

The man with a criminal past and a gambling addiction swindled his way into Melngailis' life and back account. He lured the restauranteur in with bizarre false promises—one of which includes immortalizing her beloved dog—before they ultimately tied the knot...and scammed Pure Food & Wine staffers and investors out of millions. 

Adding another problematic layer to an already disturbing story, Strangis claimed to not be human and insisted that his skin and body was a "meat suit." Now we're throwing a paranormal element into the mix. 

Consider this an interesting companion to other recent scamming hits like The Tinder Swindler and Inventing Anna

Where is Anthony Strangis now?

Going by his real name this time, Strangis is moving on and making peace with the past. 

According to an exclusive E! interview, Strangis' attorney Sam Karliner said: "He's gone on to live his life. He's got a job, uses his name, this is behind him and she's behind him."

Strangis chose not to participate in the Netflix project, unlike his ex-wife, because he feels as though he's ended this tumultuous chapter.

Karliner added: "He pled guilty to it, he owned up to it and he did it long before Sarma did. His case was resolved probably close to a year before Sarma's was. Anthony is remorseful for the people at the restaurant that lost money and he took full responsibility for his part in that."

The two were charged with a slew of offenses—second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal tax fraud, first-degree scheme to defraud and violation of labor, to name just a few—and ultimately took plea deals. 

Strangis' probation will end in May 2022, which is five years since his release from prison.

What did Anthony Strangis do with the money?

According to a May 2016 indictment by the Brooklyn District Attorney, Sarma Melngailis transferred more than $1.6 million from her business accounts to her personal bank account between January 2014 and January 2015. 

"Strangis spent nearly $1 million of these funds at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, over $200,000 at the Mohegan Sun Resort Casino in Connecticut, over $80,000 at specialty watch retailers, including Rolex and Beyer, over $70,000 at hotels in Europe and New York and over $10,000 on Uber car rides," the indictment read. He also reportedly withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. 

Are Sarma Melngailis and Anthony Strangis in contact?

A recent blog post from Sarma Melngailis clears up any confusion over whether she still has any relationships with her ex Anthony Strangis. 

Despite the fact that Bad Vegan ends with phone recordings that suggest that Melngailis and Strangis were on good terms in 2019, Sarma writes: "The ending of Bad Vegan is disturbingly misleading; I am not in touch with Anthony Strangis and I made those recordings at a much earlier time, deliberately, for a specific reason."

For her involvement in the scandal, Melngailis received five years probation and four months in jail, which all began in the summer of 2017.

In 2018, after her divorce, she worked on making her way back into New York City and even confessed to The New York Post one year later that she thinks the city would take her back, should she decide to reenter the food industry. 

Though she was cooperative with Netflix, she felt as though her narrative was incorrectly represented, which she noted in detail on her website. 

She continued: "There’s a lot Bad Vegan gets right, but it’s hard not to get stuck on the things that aren’t right or leave an inaccurate impression. Later, I’d like to clear up more."

Like its peers, The Dropout, The Worst Roommate Ever and so on, one thing's clear from TV's latest scandal obsession: you need to be careful with who you trust!

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again. 

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