Erika & Tom Girardi Sued for Allegedly Using Divorce to Embezzle Money to Fund 'Lavish' Lifestyle
According to a complaint filed in an Illinois federal court Wednesday, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star and her lawyer husband are being sued by law firm Edelson PC on behalf of several families who lost loved ones in a Boeing plane crash.
The documents, obtained by PEOPLE, detail how Tom and Erika — also known as Erika Jayne — allegedly embezzled settlement funds meant to help the families of victims on Lion Air Flight 610.
"Tom has resorted to embezzling the proceeds of settlements that should have been directed to his clients — including, as the basis for this Complaint, the widows and orphans who lost loved ones in the tragic crash of Lion Air Flight 610 — in order to continue funding his and Erika’s lavish Beverly Hills lifestyles," the documents state.
Tom’s law firm, Girardi & Keese (GK), is also named in the suit, which claims both Tom, 81, and the firm "are on the verge of financial collapse and locked in a downward spiral of mounting debts and dwindling funds."
Edelson PC and Erika declined to comment on the case, and Tom did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
The allegations against the Girardis revolve around an earlier case in the Illinois federal court related to the October 2018 crash of a Boeing aircraft that departed from Jakarta, Indonesia.
The lawsuit said Boeing reached individual settlements with clients represented by both Girardi Keese and Edelson PC, but goes on to allege that those settlement funds were instead used by Tom and Erika, 49.
"At the heart of this deception is Defendant Girardi and his need to fund outrageous lifestyles for himself and his soon-to-be ex-wife, Erika Jayne," it says, claiming that protecting their finances is the reason for their recent divorce, and that this incident is not "the first attempt by Tom to hide and divert assets."
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"While Erika publicly filed for divorce this month, on information and belief, that ‘divorce’ is simply a sham attempt to fraudulently protect Tom’s and Erika’s money from those that seek to collect on debts owed by Tom and his law firm GK," the suit states.
The lawsuit also discusses Tom and Erika's "lavish lifestyle," even pointing to the fact that the reality star has previously reportedly said "her look" costs $40,000 a month. The documents also cite her song, "Exxpen$ive."
Erika filed for divorce from Tom, her husband of 21 years, on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
"After much consideration, I have decided to end my marriage to Tom Girardi," Erika said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. "This is not a step taken lightly or easily. I have great love and respect for Tom and for our years and the lives we built together."
"It is my absolute wish to proceed through this process with respect and with the privacy that both Tom and I deserved," she added. "I request others give us that privacy as well."
Though the pair did not have a prenuptial agreement in place, Erika asked in her divorce filing that she be paid spousal support by Tom and requested to terminate the court's ability to award spousal support to her ex.