As much as SNL likes to poke fun at The Real Housewives, this story is not a laughing matter. (Okay, it kind of is.)
Russell Armstrong, husband of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills‘ Taylor Armstrong, committed suicide last July after being slapped with a $1.5 million fraud lawsuit by MyMedicalRecords.com, an online medical record storage site.
Russell was raising capital for MMR, but allegedly pocketed some of the cash with Taylor’s help. The two signed legal documents with MMR listing every investor that gave money to them, but they left out three major names. When MMR found out, the company filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against Russell and Taylor. He committed suicide, and she was left to deal with the mess.
It took nearly a year, but Taylor recently settled the suit. According to court documents, Taylor didn’t have enough cash to pay off the settlement. As such, she was required to turn over personal property. She gave up her $251,000 engagement ring, which MMR tried to auction off on eBay for more money, and two Hermès Birkin bags, which were revealed to be fake. Ouch.
MMR’s CEO Robert Lorsch explains:
“The Birkin bags turned out to be fakes from a real housewife. Knowing our experience with the Armstrongs in the past, we trusted very little so we add the [banknote] at the last minute when there was no paperwork on the bags. At the end of the day, I think we will do okay with the ring…it got the case settled. We didn’t want to go out and spend over $100,000 at trial and maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to recover [damages]. For us the chapter is closed.”