7:54 PM PT -- Erika's attorney, Evan Borges, tells TMZ, "It seems calculated that Plaintiff timed this lawsuit to coincide with the rave reviews of Erika's Las Vegas residency opening. Plaintiff's claims against Erika are entirely without merit. Independent federal prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney's Office made the decision to charge plaintiff with crimes, no one else. The notion that Erika controlled the U.S. Government, or for that matter a Fortune 100 company such as American Express, is fantasy."
2:59 PM PT -- When reached for comment on the lawsuit, RobertSavage told us, "I am restricted by a non-disclosure when I retired from the U.S. Secret Service to discuss casework during my tenure without their approval, so I would respectfully redirect your questions pertaining to the lawsuit to the USSS Office of Chief Counsel and U.S. Attorneys Office for the Central District of California."
He also pointed us to an interview he gave the L.A. Times months ago -- and provided us with his Q&A -- when he had USSS approval to answer questions. We've included several of those responses.
Erika Jayne used Secret Service agents and American Express to extort money from a Hollywood designer, ruining his life and career in the process ... so says a new lawsuit.
The 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' star and two Secret Service agents are among those being sued by Chris Psaila, who claims Erika corrupted the agents and had them prosecute him over her claims that his costume company fraudulently charged her over $800,000.
According to the lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, Psaila claims Erika gave him and his store, Marco Marco, permission to charge her card for costumes and services he designed, created and provided for her performances ... and he says Erika's estranged husband, Tom Girardi, was the account holder and she was an authorized user.
Psaila claims he started working with Erika in 2014 and everything was kosher until she falsely claimed Psaila had racked up $800k to $900k in fraudulent charges on her credit card from 2015 to 2016.
Psaila insists Erika got every piece of clothing and services from these charges.
In the docs, he claims Erika and Tom weaponized the Secret Service to maliciously prosecute him ... believing the former couple bribed agent Robert Savage, then the head of Secret Service's Los Angeles office, to criminally investigate Psaila and ultimately charge him with crimes.
Psaila also claims AMEX accepted Erika's false statements of unauthorized charges and refunded Erika and Tom over $787k without giving the designer an opportunity to dispute her claims ... and he says AMEX told the Secret Service Erika was a victim of his fraud.
In his suit, Psaila claims Tom and Savage had a cushy relationship ... and he says Savage had his own "history of falsely billing for advance Presidential location scouting trips" that eventually forced him out of the Secret Service.
Psaila claims Tom bribed Savage to investigate him by agreeing to represent Savage in a lawsuit against Volkswagen, while also promising to pay Savage $100k when the investigation in Psaila started.
The designer says Tom and Savage's relationship was not disclosed when he was facing prosecution and says the criminal case against him was ultimately dismissed nearly 5 years after it started ... but he says he suffered extreme emotional distress, financial harm to his business, plus extreme emotional, psychological, and physical injuries as a result of the ordeal.
Psaila is going after Erika, AMEX, Savage and others for at least $18.2 million.
A rep for AMEX tells TMZ ... "In late 2016, federal law enforcement contacted American Express regarding its investigation into fraud by Mr. Psaila. While it is our policy to not comment on the specific activity on an individual Card Member’s accounts, we followed our regular processes and procedures throughout this investigation as we dealt with law enforcement. We did not initiate the investigation, nor did we proactively contact law enforcement, and the information law enforcement requested from us was typical in fraud investigations. We did not play any role in the criminal investigation of Mr. Psaila or his business other than responding to inquiries from law enforcement."