Netflix’s scammer docuseries trend doesn’t seem to be dying down any time soon. The streaming giant’s latest is Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives., which profiles the downfall of Sarma Melngailis, the woman behind Pure Food and Wine, the famous Manhattan restaurant frequented by the likes of Rooney Mara, Chelsea Clinton, Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen, Alec Baldwin, Owen Wilson and Anne Hathaway . In 2016, the then 43-year-old, on the run for 10 months, was arrested at a hotel in eastern Tennessee; pleaded guilty to grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, scheme to defraud and violation of labour law; served a total of four months behind bars; and was sentenced to five years’ probation. As Netflix profiles the former raw vegan restaurateur, let’s discuss what happened and where she is now. Pure Food and Wine’s rise and fall Melngailis opened Pure Food and Wine together with her then-boyfriend Matthew Kenney and Jeffrey Chodorow, the owner of China Grill Management, in 2004 as New York City’s first upscale raw vegan restaurant. The restaurant was listed in Forbes’ All-Star New York Eateries five years in a row. The next year, the trio opened One Lucky Duck Juice and Takeaway, a retail store attached to Pure Food and Wine. Melngailis split professionally and personally with Kenney a few years later. Meet Park Solomon, breakout star of zombie K-drama All of Us Are Dead Inspiring raw cuisine cooking books, Sarma Melngailis rocks! pic.twitter.com/2ARZLrr8SW — Christophe Berg | Dream planner (@kristofberg) March 20, 2013 In 2011, Melngailis discovered her now former husband Anthony Strangis, a junk-food-loving gambler with a criminal past, in Alec Baldwin’s Twitter mentions. That’s when things began to go downhill. The New York Times reported that between 2011 and 2016, Melngailis defrauded investors of more than US$2 million. In 2015, both the ventures were permanently shut down when the scandal came to light and her staff walked out en masse. According to the authorities, the couple had failed to pay US$400,000 in sales tax, investors were out of pocket US$844,000, and employees were owed US$40,000 in unpaid wages. A love story gone sour In a recent interview with Vanity Fair , Melngailis claimed her collapse was due to a spell Strangis cast. She said that Strangis, who she eventually came to realise was a con artist, resorted to cultlike techniques, including gaslighting, sleep deprivation and sexual humiliation, to make her dreams (which include turning her dog Leon immortal) come true. Inside Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes and Billy Evans’ marriage BAD VEGAN The 2022 series revolves around a restaurateur that falls for a man who cons her out of millions after convincing her he can expand her food empire and make her beloved dog immortal — as long as she never questions his increasingly bizarre requests pic.twitter.com/BMBogLkk7u — Netflix (@netflix) September 23, 2021 Apparently, she gave him all he asked for – her cash and passwords to her bank accounts. And since Strangis held a “Svengali-like” hold on her, Melngailis gave Strangis more than US$1.6 million. According to the indictment, Strangis spent $1.2 million of the $1.6 million at Connecticut casinos. The rest of the money, the prosecutors say, the couple spent on watches and lavish trips. Then, when the money ran out, the couple ran away. Putting her life back together Melngailis ran a profitable restaurant for 11 years, wrote cookbooks ( Raw Food Real World and Living Raw Food ) and rubbed shoulders with celebrities. But now, she spends most of her time reading, hanging out with her dog, working on a memoir and recording podcasts. What is Simon Leviev, Netflix’s Tinder Swindler, doing now? View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sarma Melngailis (@sarmamelngailis) On being asked if she’s ever going to open a restaurant or store again, she told Vanity Fair , “I have moved around and have had to rely a lot on friends, but very much want to have my own New York City home base again for just Leon and me. Some days I’m inspired and fired up to get sh*t done. Other days I’m exhausted and feel unable to handle anything. So, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just hide away with Leon and write books. Or fly to the borders of Ukraine and help make Molotov cocktails. Something useful.” Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .