A family from South Florida has filed a lawsuit against the ex-wife of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and two companies the couple owned together. The lawsuit claims that Johnson’s ex-wife and the two companies bilked the family of close to $2 million. Dany Garcia-Johnson is accused of a fraud scheme that cheated the family out of money that they thought would provide them returns on safe, low-risk investments. The family said that they lost money in seized Cuban assets after a family member, Carlos Costa, was killed by Cuban MiGs during the Brothers to the Rescue mission.
“As tragic as it was to receive, it was money that was going to take care of them,” said granddaughter Melisa Mendez-Chantres.
The lawsuit names Johnson, the two companies she managed and the companies’ accountant as defendants. The lawsuit claims that the family was bilked “out of more than $1.8 million as part of an ongoing fraud scheme.” The lawsuit was filed on February 8.
“I mean, we trusted these people and we were definitely betrayed,” said Mendez-Chantres.
The grandson of Carlos Costa was hired at one of the investment firms, which is when the family met the Johnson couple. The Costas said that the Johnsons practically became members of their family. The Costas claim they sent large sums of money to Garcia-Johnson’s companies, with one instance totaling over $470,000. The Costas also have timetables that show when the money would have been repaid with interest. ‘The Rock’ is listed as a ‘co-conspirator’ in the lawsuit but not as a defendant. The lawsuit said ‘The Rock’ owned the companies with his ex-wife and “benefited financially from the fraud.”
“We felt safe that [the money] was going to be backed up by them – especially Dwayne,” Mendez-Chantres said. “He wasn’t going to steal our money because he has his own money – he had a lot of his own money.”
The lawyers for the defendants have said that the claims against their clients are untrue and have said that they want the case to be thrown out of court. The attorney for Garcia-Johnson, Richard Barbara, said that the family lost its money in the real estate market crash. He called the allegations against the defendants ‘absurd.’
“There were a lot of people and a lot of banks that suffered as a function of what happened to the real estate market,” Barbara said. “We feel that is the true source of what created the issues here.”
Garcia-Johnson claims that she reached out to the Costas about the money problems but Mendez-Chantres said that is false.
“She was not ever anywhere to be found,” she said. “[Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson] had too many gatekeepers to be found.”