Real Housewife's Dark Past Comes to Light
Danielle Staub has a felony on her record
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted Jun 8, 2009 8:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – The shocking reveal is a reality-TV staple, and The Real Housewives of New Jersey has a doozy—cast member Danielle Staub has a criminal past. Even on a show that trades in bad taste, Staub sticks out for being its first felon, reports the New York Post. In last week's episode, Teresa Guidice unveiled an out-of-print book that revealed Staub's checkered past.

Staub's ex-husband is one of the highest paid FBI informants in history. Together, they launched a scheme to press a rich acquaintance's father for ransom money, leading to charges of kidnapping, extortion, and drug possession in 1986. Staub, then going by the name Beverly Merrill, eventually cut a deal and served 5 years' probation after pleading guilty to extortion, the Star-Ledger reports.