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Tom Girardi Embezzlement Victims Can Collect Money From Erika Girardi, Judge Rules!

A judge ruled Tuesday that some former clients of Tom Girardi can pursue a collections lawsuit against his estranged wife, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Girardi

According to court records obtained by PEOPLE, Tom's former clients, Joseph Ruigomez, Jaime Ruigomez, and Kathleen Ruigomez, will be able to collect the $11 million they are owed by him per a 2020 litigation. 

The judge previously placed a stay on collections from the former attorney’s assets while he and Girardi Keese underwent an investigation by a bankruptcy trustee. However, the Ruigomez family are now allowed to move forward with their lawsuit against Erika since a special litigation counsel found that the law firm transferred $20 million to the Bravo reality star’s businesses.

Joe was among the alleged victims who spoke out in The Housewife and the Hustler, released in June. His family claimed that Tom “basically robbed” Joe — who was severely burned and scarred in the San Bruno gas pipeline explosion in 2010 — of millions in settlement funds while “managing” the money.

Joe alleged that he stopped getting his payments on time and he had trouble reaching Tom. “He would be like, ‘Oh, sorry about that. These things happen. I’ll get it to you next week,’” he claimed, according to a report by Us Weekly. “And half the time the check would come when he’d say so — the second time — and half the time it wouldn’t.”

The Ruigomez family eventually filed a lawsuit for the remaining funds, and Tom agreed to pay them $12 million. He signed a document that said he would make a $1 million payment followed by a $2.5 million payment. “He never got to the second payment,” Joe’s mother, Kathy, said.

Erika and Tom made headlines in November 2020 when the Bravo reality star filed for divorce after 20 years of marriage. The following month, the estranged couple was sued for fraud and embezzlement. 

In addition to accusing them of swindling $2 million in settlement funds intended for families of victims of a 2018 plane crash, class action firm Edelson PC claimed in federal court documents that the divorce was “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.”

Tom faced a second lawsuit later that month, alleging that his company breached a written agreement and conversation with Wells Fargo Vendor Financial Services. The bank sought immediate payment on the $882,715 outstanding bill.

The 82-yar-old was placed under a temporary conservatorship in February when his brother assumed control of his daily activities and personal care. One of Tom’s attorneys claimed in court in December 2020 that he was hospitalized for a “serious illness,” raising questions about his mental competency. Court documents revealed in March that Tom was diagnosed with late-onset Alzheimer’s and dementia.


Photo Credit: Bravo Media/NBCUniversal; Girardi Keese