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17th Mar 2022

Netflix’s newest doc shocks fans as woman reveals she was swindled out of $2m to make her dog ‘immortal’

Danny Jones

Bad Vegan Netflix

Legit might be the weirdest synopsis for a documentary we’ve ever heard

People are losing their minds over a new Netflix series that gives the likes of the Tinder Swindler and Tiger King a run for their money when it comes to unbelievable plots.

How does a woman become a criminal, losing her business empire and being swindled out of $2 million to try and make her dog immortal pique your interest?

Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives is the story of Sarma Melngailis, the former celebrity restaurateur turned criminal who once helmed Pure Food and Wine and One Lucky Duck, two popular vegan hotspots in New York.

Without giving too much away, Melngailis threw her restaurant chain and business empire away in a bizarre turn of events after marrying Anthony Strangis: a conman who promised he could make her dog “immortal”.

As many on social media have noted following the Tinder Swindler, this really is a ‘hold my beer’ moment.

The comparisons between the two and the recent slate of documentaries following women taken advantage of by opportunistic men have prompted others to lament how common this type of behaviour still is.

Others, whether sarcastically or not, have highlighted just what lengths people will go to preserve what they love the most.

The events depicted in the doc took place in 2017 when, willing to do anything to ensure her dog Leon would be around forever, Melngailis was effectively led astray by her new beau who ended up entangling her in fraud, larceny, embezzlement, mental manipulation, and all manner of other crimes.

As well as candid interviews with Melngailis herself, the four-part series sits down with ex-staff members, friends and even the investors she helped scam almost $1m from on the self-destructive path that led her to stand trial in court.

Now 49, the same woman who once enjoyed the company of celebrities like Owen Wilson, Alec Baldwin, and even the Clintons, recently revealed in her blog that the money from the documentary was used to repay those caught up in the scandal, adding that she didn’t earn a penny

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