NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) - The ex-boyfriend of former "Real Housewives of Orange County" cast member Elizabeth Lyn Vargas was charged Thursday with multiple felonies for allegedly extorting her and holding her at gunpoint during a standoff at her Newport Beach home.
Ryan Matthew Geraghty, 33, was charged with single counts each of extortion, assault with a firearm, criminal threats, corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, possession of a firearm by a felon and grossly negligent discharge of a firearm, all felonies, as well as two misdemeanor counts of possession of cocaine and a Xanax bar. He also faces sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a firearm.
According to the criminal complaint, Geraghty has two prior convictions for burglary in Los Angeles in June of 2008 and November of 2016. The two prior strikes mean he faces about 75 years to life in prison if convicted.
Geraghty allegedly extorted Vargas for what was reportedly tens of thousands of dollars, threatening to release nude photos of Vargas if she did pay him. This came before he held her at gunpoint during a roughly two-hour standoff with Newport Beach police inside Vargas' home Tuesday night before he was arrested.
The standoff began at about 5:45 p.m. when police conducted a welfare check at the home located on the Balboa Peninsula in the 100 block of East Oceanfront, near East Balboa Boulevard and Medina Way, according to Newport Beach police.
After two hours, officers entered the home and found Geraghty "actively threatening the life of the victim."
"She was being held captive for a number of hours and is extremely thankful to the Newport Beach Police Department, who was able to rescue her and get her out of harm's way," Weintraub said in a statement. "She spent the entire night with the Newport Beach Police Department going over what exactly happened and she is just glad to be safely out of the situation."
Prosecutors say Geraghty began blackmailing Vargas on Christmas Eve, forcing her to pay tens of thousands of dollars to prevent him from releasing nude photos of her. According to the prosecutors, he also allegedly forced her to buy him a BMW.
On Tuesday, he allegedly called Vargas and accused her of stealing his car, because she stopped payments on the BMW, prosecutors said.
The day prior, Geraghty supposedly fired a gun of in Vargas' home, where the bullet hit the ceiling.
Orange County Defense Attorney Todd Spitzer issued a statement on Geraghty's violent criminal past that began well before his time with Vargas. "There are some members of our society who are so violent that they cannot live amongst the rest of us," he said in a portion of his statement. "(We) will do everything (we) can to prevent this violent criminal from being able to harm anyone else," the statement continued.
The judge made sure to make it clear to Geraghty that there was a "no contact protective order" placed against him by Vargas.
Following the standoff, Weintraub issued a statement saying, "Elizabeth is doing great now," and added, "She wants to thank the Newport Beach Police Department and SWAT teams for saving her from harm's way. This was a traumatic experience for her and she feels blessed that she survived."
She was reunited with her husky at a safe location shortly after authorities were able to extract both from the home on Tuesday.
(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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