Eddie Murphy's ex-wife, Nicole Murphy, is a the victim of a suave con artist who walked away with a cool $7 million -- half of Nicole's settlement in her divorce from Murphy. According to published reports, Troy David Stratos, was arrested early Tuesday in Southern California and charged with 11 counts of wire and mail fraud, two counts of money laundering and one count of obstruction of justice.
Stratos, who changed his name from Stafford, is reportedly one of Nicole's old high school boyfriends. That explains why she put so much trust in him.
The indictment claims Stratos persuaded Nicole to invest the proceeds of her big-money divorce overseas, where she would earn a higher rate of return. He also convinced Nicole to put her Granite Bay, CA house up for sale. Stratos told her he had wealthy Middle Eastern royal families who were interested in buying the house.
He talked her into leasing luxury Rolls-Royce and BMW automobiles to make the property look more attractive. Stratos told Nicole, who wasn't named in the indictment, that he would include the cars with the sale of the house as a package deal.
But investigators say there were no Middle Eastern investors, and the con artist never put the house up for sale. Instead, Stratos secretly moved into the house and drove the luxury cars as if they were his.
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, said Stratos has agreed to be returned to Sacramento to face the charges. He is currently being held without bond pending a bail hearing scheduled for Wednesday.