LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A self-described Los Angeles entertainment entrepreneur is facing federal charges after allegedly bilking $7 million from the ex-wife of actor-comedian Eddie Murphy.
Troy David Stratos faces 14 charges of fraud, money laundering and obstructing justice. Stratos, 45, was arrested Tuesday and made his first appearance in Los Angeles federal court.
Federal prosecutors say Stratos told Nicole Murphy he would invest her money overseas, where it could earn more interest.
Stratos allegedly told Murphy he could sell her house in Granite Bay to Middle Eastern royals, and convinced her to lease luxury cars to spruce up the property. Stratos told her they would be sold with the house as part of a package deal.
But prosecutors say there was no deal. It was Stratos who used the house and the cars.
“Our investigation has been underway for a while,” said US attorney Ben Wagner. “Unfortunately, as with a lot of these fraud schemes, by the time the victim is aware or has suspicions of fraud, a lot of the money has already been entrusted to the fraudster.”
Stratos is awaiting arraignment on money laundering, wire fraud, and other charges. The wire and mail fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, while the money laundering and obstruction charges carry 10-year maximum sentences.
Nicole filed for divorce from Eddie Murphy in 2005, after a 12-year marriage. They had four daughters and one son. She previously owned a home in the wealthy Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, though court records say she now lives in Calabasas outside Los Angeles.
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