Jayne, 52, is being sued by costume merchant Christopher Psaila in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on August 29, according to documents obtained by Us Weekly. Psaila — who is the cofounder of Marco Marco — claimed that Jayne, along with her estranged husband, Tom Girardi, weaponized the Secret Service to maliciously prosecute him in 2017 in order to acquire a nearly $800,000 refund from American Express.
According to Psaila, Jayne gave him consent to charge her for costumes he created, designed and supplied for her shows, meaning the spouses falsely told federal agents that the charges to her credit card were unauthorized. Psaila stated in his filing that the Secret Service then led a reckless investigation into Jayne’s claims and deliberately ignored facts that would exonerate him.
“The allegations are that Tom Girardi was able to pull strings and basically get out of debt to say that Erika Jayne was fraudulently charged,” lawyer Neama Rahmani, who is not associated with the case, exclusively told Us Weekly. “This isn’t just a chargeback here, this is a situation where now federal agents are now [allegedly] getting involved and investigating and potentially prosecuting this costume store.”
Rahmani noted that Girardi, 84, is a “powerful man” who has “connections” at the “highest level of government.”
“The state bar [in Los Angeles] didn’t investigate him or take action despite hundreds of complaints because of his close ties to folks at the state bar,” he claimed. “We’re talking about folks who are in federal law enforcement.”
While Rahmani told Us that he doesn’t know whether the fraud allegations against Jayne “are true,” it’s a “complex” and “bombshell” case with “very serious” claims against Jayne.
“If it’s indeed true, this is a very big deal,” he continued. “This is an [alleged] misuse of our system of justice — and we know how big of a deal that is right now in other, sort of, political arenas. If Tom truly was able to get someone to investigate someone his wife was having a civil dispute [or a] a credit card despite with, this was a big, big problem.”
Jayne’s lawyer, Evan C. Borges, told Us in a Wednesday, September 6, statement that the allegations come at a questionable time considering they line up with the reality star’s 11-week Las Vegas residency show, “Bet It All on Blonde,” which launched on August 25.
“It seems calculated that Plaintiff timed this lawsuit to coincide with Erika’s Las Vegas residency opening. Plaintiff’s claims against Erika are without merit,” Borges told Us. “Independent federal prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office made the decision to charge plaintiff with crimes, no one else. The notion that Erika controlled the U.S. Government, or for that matter a Fortune 100 company such as American Express, is fantasy.”
Jayne has yet to publicly comment on the claims in the legal filing. Us Weekly reached out for comment.
Jayne filed for divorce from Girardi in November 2020 after 21 years of marriage. One month later, Jayne and Giradi were accused of embezzling funds earmarked for families of plane crash victims. Jayne was dismissed from that lawsuit in January 2022, but the estranged duo were named in several other subsequent lawsuits.
In February, Girardi was indicted for allegedly embezzling more than $15 million from his clients and charged with five counts of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The federal indictment alleged that Girardi and his colleague Christopher Kazuo Kamon fraudulently obtained millions of dollars that belonged to Girardi Keese clients from 2010 to December 2020.
Currently, Girardi’s mental competency could determine whether the government’s criminal case against him can proceed. His lawyers claimed in an August 22 filing that ”he cannot maintain awareness” that he has been disbarred and that his clients have not been paid, according to Reuters. It’s an issue that Rahmani told Us may come into play in the lawsuit with Psaila.
“Tom is being prosecuted [and] a judge just has to determine if he’s competent to stand trial,” Rahmani explained. “So, competence is an issue. You really have to understand the nature of the proceedings against you and be able to assist in your own defense. So if Tom is deemed incompetent then that’s a temporary situation. But if it’s never restored to competence he’s never going to face criminal justice.”
While Jayne, for her part, has “never been prosecuted,” Rahmani told Us that this latest fraud case could change that.
“A lot of folks are upset at Erika Jayne because she’s never been prosecuted. She’s been subject of civil lawsuits but if this is something that she was involved with,” Rahmani said. “I mean, not only could she get in trouble criminally, but the folks at the Secret Service and maybe even the Department of Justice, that [allegedly] participated in this type of scheme could get in trouble as well.”