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Crime News

Vegan Fugitive Admits To Stealing From Investors, Not Paying Restaurant Employees

She also believed her dog would live forever. 

By Gina Tron

A former New York City vegan restaurant owner was sent to jail on Wednesday for over three months after confessing to stealing from investors and not paying 84 employees.

Sarma Melngailis, 44, and with her estranged husband Anthony Strangis, pleaded guilty to the crimes at her businesses Pure Food & Wine in Chelsea and One Lucky Duck juice bar in Gramercy, according to the New York Daily News.

As a condition of her guilty plea, Melngailis only had to admit to stealing over $200,000 from one investor. In total, she is accused of stealing $844,000 from four investors.  

Strangis was sentenced to time served after spending a year on Rikers Island. Melngailis was sentenced to three and a half months on Rikers Island.

According to Vanity Fair, Melngailis had thrived before meeting Strangis, a gambler with a criminal past, in 2011 on Twitter. Chelsea Clinton and Alec Baldwin were among her many customers at her accomplished businesses before the accussations. After, Melngailis and Strangis became fugitives in 2016 and were found in a Tennessee hotel, where they hid for 40 days. By that point, Melngailis was under the impression that that her pit bull, Leon, would be turned immortal by her husband.