Here’s Where Anthony Strangis Is After The Events Of Bad Vegan

He’s been out of prison since May 2017.

Anthony Strangis, aka Shane Fox, in 'Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives' via Netflix's press site

When celebrity restaurateur Sarma Melngailis met “Shane Fox” on Twitter in 2011, she thought her dreams were about to come true. As recounted in Netflix’s four-part docuseries, Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives, Fox, whose real name is Anthony Strangis, told her that he could help expand her raw-vegan hotspot, Pure Food and Wine, and make her beloved pit bull, Leon, immortal. The catch? She had to obey all of his requests — including funneling him money and completing a series of bizarre tests — without question.

“He convinced me I’d be empowered in ways I couldn’t imagine,” Melngailis explained to Vanity Fair in 2016. “I would have access to unlimited resources so that I could grow my brand all over the world, make the documentary I always wanted to make — the one that would finally change people’s ways and help eradicate factory farming. Basically, I could do all the world-changing things I’d been quietly dreaming about. I could help whoever I want, and stay young forever doing it.”

The two met face-to-face for the first time in November 2011, and Melngailis was soon expecting Strangis’ baby, but she terminated the pregnancy in January 2012, per Vanity Fair. The pair had broken up by April, but married that December, much to the confusion of several loved ones. “He told me if I was his wife I’d be more protected,” Melngailis explained to the magazine. “It was vague.” (Strangis’ attorney denied these claims.)

Between January 2014 and January 2015, Melngailis allegedly transferred more than $1.6 million from her business accounts to her personal bank account, and Strangis spent $1.2 million of it at Connecticut casinos. A source claimed to the magazine that he employed “cult-like techniques, including gaslighting, sleep deprivation, and sexual humiliation,” to control Melngailis, though Strangis categorically denied those allegations via his court-appointed representative. Eventually, Melngailis became unable to pay staff, vendors, and landlords, and her Pure Food employees organized a collective walkout.

After the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office charged Melngailis and Strangis with fraud for stealing nearly $2 million and violating labor laws, the couple went on the lam in May 2015. Pure Food and Wine permanently closed months later. It wasn’t until May 10, 2016 that authorities caught and arrested Melngailis and Strangis at a Tennessee hotel, where they’d been holed up for 40 days. Strangis, who had previously served prison time for grand theft and impersonating a police officer, used his real name to order a Dominos pizza (and a side of chicken wings) to their hotel room, thus alerting authorities about their whereabouts.

Strangis and Melngailis faced charges of second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal tax fraud, first-degree scheme to defraud, violation of labor and other crimes in a 24-count indictment, carrying a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. Following their arrests, Melngailis accepted a plea deal and served four months in jail plus five years probation. Strangis pleaded guilty to four counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree, and was sentenced to one year in jail and five years of probation in addition to having to pay $840,000 in restitution.

Strangis spent one year and three days behind bars before being released from Rikers Island in May 2017. At the time, Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Danny Chun warned that if he violates probation, Strangis could serve anywhere from five to 15 additional years on grand larceny charges. In May 2018, Melngailis filed to divorce Strangis, who has since largely remained out of the public eye. His five-year probation, which he requested to serve in his home state of Massachusetts, is scheduled to end in May 2022, at which time he’ll be 41 years old.