Danielle Staub’s extortion, “drug, prostitution, and informant history” detailed

Hours before the already-taped Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion is going to air, The Smoking Gun has revealed that “federal court records provide a detailed account of the criminal, drug, prostitution, and informant history of Danielle Staub,” aka Beverly Ann Merrill.

The site has published 26 pages of court documents that detail charges: Danielle “was arrested by FBI agents in June 1986 for her role in a kidnapping plot that grew out of a cocaine deal gone bad,” and along with Daniel Aguilar, “sought to extort a $25,000 ransom from a man whose son they were holding”–and the son “was blamed by Merrill and Aguilar for the botched drug deal, which cost them a kilo of cocaine worth about $24,000,” according to TSG’s summary of the documents.

When they were arrested, “agents discovered six kilos of cocaine and about $16,000 in cash,” and Danielle “was charged with eight felonies, including extortion, cocaine possession, and narcotics conspiracy. Prosecutors allege that Merrill placed the first call to Centolella’s father and ‘threatened injury or death’ to his son ‘unless a sum of money was paid.’” She flipped, becoming an informant (which led to threats) and pleading guilty to “a single felony count” and was later “sentenced to five years probation for her extortion conviction.”

As to Theresa’s accusation that Danielle is a “prostitution whore!” (insert table flipping, eyeball-bulging scene here), during one hearing, an FBI agent testified, “I know that she has told me that she has worked for an escort service, yes.”

“Jersey” Girl’s Sordid Past [The Smoking Gun]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.