Viewers of new Netflix documentary Bad Vegan are eager to know where Sarma MeIngailis is now and how this crazy clean-eating story ends.
Netflix have been treating us to a number of thrilling true crime productions of late, from the mind-blowing Tinder Swindler documentary to the tale of con-artist Anna Delvey. And now there’s a third offering from the streaming giant that’s proving just as bingeworthy – the wild story of vegan restauranteur turned fraudster Sarma MeIngailis.
From promises of dog immortality to eating cheese and getting caught with a non-vegan Dominos pizza, there’s plenty of whacky revelations that have amazed audiences in Bad Vegan. And many want to know what the co-founder of New York’s famed vegan eatery – Pure Food and Wine – is up to now, following her arrest and alleged defraudment of $1.5 million from company employers and investors.
Where is Bad Vegan Sarma MeIngailis now?
Sara MeIngailis is now living in Harlem, New York in an apartment with her beloved 12-year-old dog Leon. The 49-year-old ex-restauranteur has a blog called Sarma Raw where she shares personal insights into her life. One such post revealed that she’d like to write “at least a book” at some point. In the hopes to “partially convey things that happened in a way that may make some sense”.
Sara is active on social media and also runs a Instagram account dedicated to Leon – @oneluckyrescuedog. It’s not clear if the Bad Vegan star is dating anyone following her split from Anthony Strangis and dalliance with attorney Jeffrey Lichtman. She told the New York Post in 2018: “I have no desire to get married again. I have no desire to be in a relationship.”
It’s unclear what Sara is up to professionally now. However, she told the same publication her desires to reopen her former restaurant Pure Food and Wine:
“If there was some magical opportunity to open the same restaurant in the same place, I would do it in a heartbeat,” she said. “I think New York would take me back.”
Where is Anthony Strangis now?
It is thought that Anthony Strangis (or Shane Fox) is now living back in Massachussets, where he grew up. During Anthony’s trial in 2017, his attorney Sam Karliner shared that his client wanted to serve his ongoing probation in Massachusetts – where he has family.
Following the release of Bad Vegan on Netflix, Karliner gave an exclusive statement to E! News on Anthony’s current situation. “He’s gone on to live his life,” he shared. “He’s got a job, uses his name, this is behind him and she’s behind him.” Also adding that the two are “not in touch.”
Aside from this information, Anthony Strangis’s current movements remain unknown. The gambler has kept a low profile since his release from prison in May 2017. His imposed five-year probation states that he must repay funds stolen from Pure Food and Wine investors. This amounts to around $840,000 and is set to end in 2022.
Bad Vegan Director Chris Smith said that they approached Anthony to give his side of the story in the show. “We reached out and gave him an opportunity to either interview or to comment, and he did not respond,” Chris confirmed.
Did Sarma MeIngailis and Anthony Strangis go to jail?
Yes, Sarma MeIngalis and Anthony Strangis both served time in prison for their crimes. In 2017, Sarma spent four months in Rikers Prison, whilst Anthony served a year and three days in the same New York jailhouse. Charges brought against the former couple include first-degree scheme to defraud, second-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal tax fraud.
Both Sarma and Anthony pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them which could carry up to 15 years inside. In addition to their sentences, they received a five-year probation period. These included conditions to pay back some of the money they allegedly stole.
Timeline of events:
According to the indictment, Sarma started withdrawing from her vegan restaurant Pure Food and Wine in 2014. She told staff at the time via emails “she was working to grow and expand the business”, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office stated in 2016.
In the same year she allegedly did not pay employees in April, May, July, August and November. The same happened again in January 2015, with the DA office stating that 98 workers were unpaid. As a result they refused to work and the business closed it’s doors temporarily.
A month later, Sarma reopened Pure Food and Wine. She was able to secure investments of “$844,000 and she used some of this money to pay back former employees and settle other bills,” the DA office notes. She tells these investors that she plans to sell the business to a man called Michael Caledonia. However in May 2015, an investor allegedly uncovered Anthony Strangis as Mr Caledonia.
Questionable money transfers take place a month later. With Sarma allegedly transferring over $400,000 from the business and into her personal account. Her employees’ paychecks bounce again and in July 2015 the doors of Pure Food and Wine shut for good. This is when the couple both disappear from New York.
Sarma and Anthony then remain on the run, until police eventually caught up with them on 10 May 2016. Authorities were alerted to their presence in Tennessee at a hotel in Sevierville. According to Vanity Fair, the two had been “holed up for 40 days and 40 nights”. But it was a Domino’s order in Anthony’s name for a “non-raw, non-vegan cheesy pie (plus a side of chicken wings)” which ultimately gave them and their location away.
How much money did Sarma MeIngailis allegedly steal?
Vanity Fair reported than in total Sarma MeIngailis “transferred more than $1.6 million from her business accounts to her personal bank account. And Strangis spent $1.2 million of this money at Connecticut casinos.”
Court papers from the 2017 trial revealed that Anthony Strangis spent some of this sum on travelling and luxury items.
According to the indictment he spent “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. He also withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash”.
Is Sarma MeIngailis still with Anthony Strangis?
No, according to the New York Post, Sarma filed for divorce from Anthony Strangis in May 2018. Their divorce was finalised two months later in August 2018, after almost six years of marriage. During their 2017 trial, Sarma accused her former husband of mentally, physically and sexually abusing her throughout their relationship. She also alleged he convinced her to bankrupt her successful vegan empire.
In court, attorneys for Miss MeIngailis additionally claimed that their client was brainwashed by Anthony and subjected to gaslighting and coercive control. The ex-restauranteur also told Vanity Fair some of the things her former husband promised her. This included “access to unlimited resources” and that her dog Leon would “be immortal and safe to be by my side for eternity”. Lawyers for Anthony Stranglis have strongly denied all allegations.
How much did Sarma get paid by Netflix for Bad Vegan?
Sarma MeIngailis was paid an undisclosed sum by Netflix for the documentary Bad Vegan. According to her blog Sarma Raw, the ex-restauranteur used the money to re-pay what was owed to her former Pure Food and Wine employees.
“It’s standard practice — to say nothing of journalistic integrity — that subjects do not get paid for participation in documentaries, at least not the reputable ones,” she wrote on her website. “In my case, however, and at my insistence, the producers made an exception so that I could pay the total amount my former employees were owed — amounts that accrued after my disappearance in 2015.”
According to Vanity Fair, when the restaurant shut for good in July 2015, 84 workers were owed up to $3,500 each – totally over $40,000.
The 49-year-old went on to clarify that she “did not otherwise profit from Bad Vegan“. And that Netflix and the documentary producers could confirm this. She added that she felt “relieved” when the payment to her ex-employees went through. Though this is “just a small part of what remains outstanding,” she understands.
“I want to be clear that I’ll keep working towards addressing it all—one way or another—eventually,” she declared.
What has Sarma said about the Bad Vegan documentary?
On her blog ‘Bad Vegan‘ Sarma MeIngailis shared that she did the documentary in the hope that “people can learn something valuable from my story”. She acknowledges that whilst “there’s a lot that Bad Vegan gets right”, she finds the ending to be “disturbingly misleading”.
“I only finally saw Bad Vegan twelve days ago,” she wrote in her post dated 16 March 2022. “The story is so weird and complicated, even to me, that it seemed inevitable that the documentary would get some things wrong, and I worried about this.
“I did not participate in how the story was told beyond my interviews and the source materials I contributed. I also worried about how my family would feel about it,” she added.
Sarma clarifies that in her eyes she didn’t “flee in 2015” and wasn’t “on the lam”. Her version of events state that leaving New York was not voluntary on her part and that she didn’t have access to her communication devices at the time.
She also sets the record straight on her relationship with Anthony:
“I didn’t want to marry him, and that part of the story was inaccurately condensed,” she wrote. “Also, 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.”
The 49-year-old labelled the post ‘Bad Vegan: Part One’. And signed off with a line that she’d “like to clear up more” later. We therefore think they’ll be additional revelations from Sarma as the documentary continues to draw in viewers.
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