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Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Girardi was accused of being "in possession of stolen property" by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barry Russell
Erika Girardi is being forced to give up one of her very pricey possessions after a judge ruled it was purchased with stolen funds.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star fought to keep a pair of $750,000 diamond earrings her estranged husband Tom Girardi purchased for her in March 2007. However, during a hearing on Tuesday in Los Angeles, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barry Russell ruled that the former trial attorney purchased the jewelry with money that was supposed to go to his clients, who were injured by a demarcated diabetes drug known as Rezulin.
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Calling it an "unfortunate case," Judge Russell said that "settlement funds from the trust account created for a class action handled by [Tom's] firm Girardi Keese were used to pay for the diamond earrings in Erika's possession," reported Law360.
"Not only did Girardi steal money from the GK client trust account to buy the diamond earrings, he covered up the theft by describing the purpose of the check as a 'cost' of litigation incurred by the firm," a bankruptcy trustee for Tom's law firm said in her motion to force Erika to hand over the pricey earrings, according to the outlet.
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 02: Erika Jayne attends the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards: UNSCRIPTED at Barker Hangar on June 02, 2022 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
While the "XXPEN$IVE" singer has to return the gift, the judge noted he didn't believe she knew the funds used to purchase the earrings was illegitimate, Law360 reported, but that "she's still in possession of stolen property."
Erika's attorney, Evan Borges, told the court that since Tom's battle with legal woes, her life has changed drastically.
"My client takes this very seriously, Your Honor," Borges said, according to the outlet. "My client left this marriage to move into a rental, filed for divorce on her own, and all she took with her were her personal possessions, which do include jewelry, but all she's got are those personal possessions, plus her income from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."
"It's funny for people to sort of snicker about, but it's all she's got, as far as income."
Erika Girardi Opens Up About What She Misses from Her Marriage to Tom Girardi
Erika and Tom were married for 21 years before her filing in November 2020. She was previously married to Thomas Zizzo, with whom she shares 26-year-old son Tommy Zizzo.
Shortly after submitting the paperwork for her divorce from Tom, Erika found herself entangled in his ongoing legal issues, including a lawsuit accusing both of them of embezzling money intended to go to Boeing plane crash victims' families. Erika has repeatedly denied having any part in Tom's legal controversies.
Charges against Erika were dismissed from the embezzlement lawsuit, but Erika is now facing two other lawsuits: a $50 million racketeering suit and a $2.1 million "aiding and abetting" suit.
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As for how she is handling her new normal, Erika recently told E!'s Daily Pop that she's focused on remaining present.
"Last year I was waking up with this hopeless feeling," she recalled. "There's a lot of sadness still here, but there is happiness in the form of having some fun with some friends, having some sex, and just trying to stay in the moment and not in the past."
And now Erika said it's all about a fresh start. "What I like the most is that I've have the chance to completely start over and be free from over a 20-year marriage and kind of wipe the slate clean in a way," she said.
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