*The ex-wife of Eddie Murphy lost a $7 million chunk of her divorce settlement due to the actions of a brazen con man, federal prosecutors said.
Authorities didn’t name Nicole Murphy in court paperwork unsealed Tuesday, according to the New York Daily News, but a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles last year outs her as the victim of Troy David Stratos’ alleged fraud.
Stratos was arrested in Southern California early Tuesday and charged with 11 counts of wire and mail fraud, two counts of money laundering and one count of obstruction of justice.
The indictment claims Stratos persuaded his victim to invest the proceeds of her big-money divorce overseas, saying that’s where the Hollywood fortune would earn a higher rate of return. Prosecutors say Stratos never invested the money but simply used it to underwrite his flashy lifestyle.
Stratos also told his victim he knew members of Middle Eastern royal families and could sell them her home in Granite Bay, Calif., prosecutors said. He convinced her to lease luxury Rolls-Royce and BMW automobiles to make the property more attractive, saying that a potential buyer would purchase the high-end cars along with the house in a package deal, according to the federal indictment.
The financial guidance turned out to be little more than a ruse that allowed Stratos to live in the house rent-free and use the vehicles as his own, prosecutors said. There was never any deal arranged to sell the property to a royal family, they said.
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, said Stratos has agreed to be returned to Sacramento to face the charges. He is jailed pending a bail hearing scheduled for Wednesday. If convicted, Stratos faces up to 20 years in prison for the wire and mail fraud charges and up to 10 years for the money laundering and obstruction of justice charges.
Nicole Murphy, a former model, filed for divorce from Eddie Murphy in August 2005 after a 12-year marriage. They have four daughters and one son together. She became engaged to former New York Giants linebacker Michael Strahan in 2009.