Where is Sarma Melngailis Now? What Does “Bad Vegan” Mean?


It's that we enjoy seeing real-world cons play out. So many of us saw Inventing Anna, a documentary about a lady who conned New York City's elites into believing she was also wealthy.

Tinder Swindler warned us not to trust anyone on dating apps, while The Dropout demonstrated that even public health may be compromised. In addition, on March 16, 2022, Netflix will release the documentary series Bad Vegan.


This new episode of Spring of Scam features testimonials from Melngailis' family and employees, a surprising celebrity subplot, and regular updates about the cute dog Leon.

Melngailis herself appears in the program, prompting many viewers to question how the former restaurant owner is now employed. Here is everything we know about the current whereabouts of the villainous vegan.

Where is Sarma Melngailis Now?


Melngailis filed for divorce from Strangis after her release from prison and relocated to Harlem with her dog Leon. She later disclosed her intention to leave New York to concentrate on a memoir, but she told the New York Post that she intended to reopen her once-popular restaurant.

“If I had the chance to open the same restaurant in the same location, I would do it in an instant,” she stated. “I believe New York would welcome my return.”

Where is Sarma Melngailis Now? What Does "Bad Vegan" Mean?

Melngailis posted a screenshot of the documentary's trailer on Instagram last month, telling her followers: “This is an item. A trailer is now available online.” She continued, “I'm unsure if I can hibernate for the remainder of winter. Or in terms of time. It's an odd day when people keep asking me how I'm doing before asking, “What's the meat suit?”

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Who is Sarma Melngailis?

In 2005, Melngailis founded Pure Food and Wine in New York, a vegan restaurant that attracted celebrities such as Owen Wilson and Alec Baldwin. Melngailis's restaurant has been featured in New York Magazine's Top 100 Restaurants list and Forbes' All-Star New York Restaurants list for five consecutive years.

Everything was going well until 2011 when Melngailis met Anthony Strangis online. Once they met in person, they began a love connection. Strangis assured Melngailis that he could make her financially independent – without the need for investors in her restaurant – and the couple was married the following year.

Strangis began spending Melngailis' money almost immediately, and it was discovered that she had transferred $1.6 million from business accounts to her personal bank account.

In addition, Melngailis said that Strangis made numerous other promises to her, telling Vanity Fair that he assured her she would have “unlimited access to resources” and that her dog would be “immortal and safe to be at my side for eternity.” However, Strangis's attorneys refute this.


What does “Bad Vegan” mean?

Bad Vegan” describes how Melngailis' restaurant Pure Food and Wine became a celebrity hot spot in New York, as well as how the chef's business and personal life plummeted downward once she met and became engaged with Strangis.

The Deseret News previously stated that throughout their relationship and marriage, Strangis promised Melngailis protection and even immortality for her dog Leon if she passed a series of tests that often involved Strangis earning enormous quantities of money.

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According to Marie Claire, Melngailis began funneling money from her firm to make these payments, leaving her rent and employees unpaid. Strangis and Melngailis ultimately stole close to $2 million from employees and investors. According to Marie Claire, they were captured in 2016 after going into hiding for ten months.

Where is Sarma Melngailis Now? What Does "Bad Vegan" Mean?

Melngailis served a four-month sentence on Rikers Island in 2017, Collider reported, following a plea agreement in which she admitted to the theft, tax fraud, and conspiracy to commit fraud. According to Marie Claire, she sought a divorce after serving her term.

What happened to Sarma Melngailis?

In May 2016, Melngailis and Strangis were finally apprehended in Tennessee after fleeing New York while being pursued by the authorities for fraud.

Melngailis was ironically apprehended after ordering pizza and chicken wings from a fast food restaurant, despite having previously owned a vegan eatery. The two had been hiding in a motel for forty days prior to their capture.

Melngailis and Strangis, who faced up to 14 years in jail on multiple offenses including second-degree grand theft, second-degree criminal tax fraud, and first-degree scheme to defraud, entered into plea agreements.

Melngailis pleaded guilty to stealing over $200,000 from an investor, as well as additional criminal tax fraud offenses, and was sentenced to just under four months in Rikers Island prison in New York.

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Strangis pleaded guilty to four counts of grand theft and was sentenced to one year in jail and five years of probation. Investors were also sentenced to get $840,000 in restitution.