‘Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.’ Documentary Series Review

Netflix continues its new trend of scammer true crime documentaries with the four-part series ‘Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.’ It is directed by Chris Smith who also served as one of the executive producers along with Mark Emms and Ryann Fraser. The music was handled by Dan Romer. I have strong opinions on this one.

The story chronicles the rise and fall of Sarma Melngailis, a vegan restaurant owner who once managed a swanky New York City raw vegan restaurant. It was a popular spot frequented by former presidents and Hollywood celebrities. One day, she begins to date a man called Anthony, a person who claims he is in special-ops, a spiritualist, and wealthy. She lets him into her life and eventually marries him as she continually gives him large cash payments. Soon, she and he are on the run having stolen money from investors and employees.

Netflix definitely knows that true crime is their bread and butter. This “limited series” is well-made, presents the subject in an engaging way, and keeps you connected to the insane story. Of course, they have to whitewash “accidental” shooter Alec Baldwin since he was a customer at the restaurant. Other than that, I did not have a problem with the features of the show. Now, if you are unfamiliar with the crime, I will have some spoilers, but you should still check it out for yourself.

My problem is with the alleged “victim” and convicted felon Sarma. Here we have a holier-than-thou vegan who has claimed she was caught up in a scam by this scumbag Anthony. Sure, diary entries and phone recordings seem to indicate she was not always on board with the supernatural crap or money transfers he was handling, but when he asked for money, she gave it to him. Not only that, she took advantage of her mother and her mentor to get him money. He kept saying it was for a test but was actually driving to Las Vegas to gamble it away.

At first, you feel bad for Sarma, but when you see the scam, you have to ask how she fell for it. It is not like The Tinder Swindler who staged a fake shooting to launch his scam or the “Rob” incident in the UK that kept his victims moving and on the run. Anthony would show up, ask Sarma for money, and she gave it to him freely. At one point, she even married him to help consolidate the debts that were piling up. Not to mention all of the stuff he said was downright outlandish.

Sarma also claimed she did not even know they were on the run and even admitted Anthony did not attempt to keep her detained. She went with him on a spending spree in Las Vegas before ending up in Tennessee where she got caught because she ordered a pizza. Yes, the vegan queen of New York City got caught because she got a pizza.

It is sad because the majority of vegans do so for health reasons while a loud minority use it to virtue signal their lifestyle as “better than” you. Especially those in the “industry.” Most of these types are exposed as pizza-ordering frauds or go crazy.

Oh, sure, she tried to make you feel bad with the waterworks and the images of her dog, but even those making the documentary seemed to doubt her victim status. At least it gives you that impression as you hear from the employees, family members, and friends who all feel she had some sort of culpability.

Like I said earlier, watch the documentary series for yourself and make up your own mind, but I am not convinced this is a scam like others I have seen. It is more like two manipulative frauds found each other. The real victims are the people who were cheated out of a paycheck or funds.

Check out the trailer below:

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong foul language, Disturbing topics, Vegan hypocrisy

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of Meet Marry Murder and Meddling. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.

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