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Los Angeles man accused of extorting, threatening ‘Real Housewives’ star

Prosecutors say the man extorted a reality television star, threatened to sell photos of her, and pointed a gun at her.
Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen - Season 17
Elizabeth Lyn Vargas appears on the Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen Show in 2020.Bravo / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
/ Source: NBC News

A Los Angeles man is accused of extorting former “Real Housewives of Orange County” star Elizabeth Vargas and pointing a gun at her in an incident Tuesday, officials said.

Ryan Matthew Geraghty, 33, is charged with six felony counts, including extortion by force and assault with a firearm, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

On Tuesday, Geraghty reportedly called the victim and accused her of stealing his car, then went to her home, pointed a gun at her and threatened to kill her for refusing to give him more money, the DA’s office said.

Newport Beach responded after they tried to contact the woman and heard a struggle over the phone.

Once inside, officers “encountered an armed male suspect who was actively threatening the life of the victim, a Newport Beach police spokesperson said this week.

Geraghty was arrested at Vargas’ Newport Beach home Tuesday night, officials said.

Prosecutors and court documents did not name the victim but described her as a reality television star.

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Vargas’ manager, David Weintraub, said in a statement Wednesday that Vargas was the victim and that she was “extremely traumatized” by Tuesday’s ordeal, ABC 7 of Los Angeles and other outlets reported.

Weintraub did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News on Thursday. A law enforcement source familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News that the victim was Vargas.

Prosecutors say Geraghty had been extorting tens of thousands of dollars from the victim, beginning on Christmas Eve.

The two had been in a romantic relationship and Geraghty threatened to sell nude photos of the victim to the media, the district attorney’s office said.

After the woman said she would not give him more money, Geraghty punched her in the face, according to the DA’s office.

The victim was also forced to buy Geraghty a BMW, and on Jan. 31 he allegedly fired a gun into a ceiling during an argument, the DA’s office said.

Geraghty was being held at the Theo Lacy Facility without bond Thursday afternoon, according to online jail records.

A public defender listed as representing him did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday evening.

Geraghty has been convicted twice in residential burglary cases in Los Angeles, according to a criminal complaint. That could make him eligible for a life sentence under the state’s three strikes law if convicted, the district attorney’s office said.

Vargas appeared on the 15th season of the Bravo show “Real Housewives of Orange County.” NBCUniversal is the parent company of both Bravo and NBC News.

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.