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Arkansas man sues Las Vegas dancer seeking over $38M in damages

Updated July 11, 2024 - 1:43 pm

A man from Arkansas is suing a Las Vegas dancer, claiming she defrauded him out of millions of dollars, according to court documents.

Fred Brunner, the plaintiff, is seeking $3.5 million in compensatory damages and $35 million in punitive damages from Melanie Sterling, a Las Vegas dancer, and four John Does.

Attempts to reach Sterling for comment have been unsuccessful.

According to the lawsuit, Brunner was in the middle of divorce proceedings in June 2014 when he visited a gentleman’s club in Las Vegas and was approached by Sterling, a dancer at the club.

Sterling gave him a private dance, according to the lawsuit. It said that during the private dance, Sterling learned that Brunner “was far wealthier than her normal patrons – wealthy enough to change her life.”

After exchanging phone numbers, Sterling pursued a relationship with Brunner with the intent of defrauding him further, the complaint alleged.

Brunner was “hoodwinked” into thinking Sterling was exclusively in a romantic relationship with him, according to the complaint. It said Sterling offered emotional support as Brunner progressed through divorce proceedings.

The lawsuit said Sterling regularly texted Brunner and sent him romantic cards and letters. It said Brunner and Sterling went on vacations inside and outside the country, with Brunner paying for those trips.

Over the course of their 10-year relationship, Sterling made over 100 requests for financial support, according to the complaint.

That money was used to pay for a $720,000 home in Las Vegas, where Sterling allegedly wanted to live in with Brunner, the lawsuit said. They agreed to sell the home and split the proceeds if the two ever ended their romantic relationship, according to the complaint.

The home was not placed in Brunner’s and Sterling’s names because Sterling was concerned that if anything happened to Brunner, Brunner’s children would fight to claim ownership of the home, the complaint said.

Brunner’s lawsuit alleges that as further evidence of Sterling’s intent to defraud him, Sterling transferred the home to a trust in her name to make it more difficult for Brunner to recover the property, according to the lawsuit, which alleged that Sterling breached the contract they made earlier when she failed to sell the home and split proceeds.

Additionally, the lawsuit claims that Sterling funneled his money to 20 other individuals who Brunner believes actively participated in this scheme.

The lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of Washington County, Arkansas.

Brunner’s attorneys have not responded to a request for comment.

Contact Annie Vong at avong@reviewjournal.com.

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