A prominent gangland widow hoping to relaunch her family brand with a glamorous reality television show has been captured on film in a dramatic scene perhaps more accurately representing her real life.
Dressed in a black Puma tracksuit top and wearing handcuffs rather than gold jewels favoured by the American TV stars the 50-year-old hopes to emulate, Roberta Williams swore at a waiting news crew as she was arrested in Melbourne on Wednesday morning.
Unexpected visits from police have been commonplace in the life of Ms Williams, the widow of slain gangland killer and drug boss Carl Williams.
But the crime she and her associates are accused of is rather sensational – even for someone whose life formed part of the plot of the famous Underbelly crime series.
Ryan Naumenko – named at the time only as Ryan – went public last month to one of the Underbelly co-authors, award-winning crime reporter John Silvester, with allegations he had been bashed during a kidnapping and extortion plot.
According to Silvester’s story in The Age, Ryan was hired as a producer for Ms Williams’ reality show.
In a GoFundMe page raising money for the series, the show is described as “a mixture of Mob Wives meets Keeping up with the Kardashians“.
The description goes on to promise a “unique format, never before seen in an Aussie series”.
“The glamour aside, we will also be airing the truth regarding the Lawyer X scandal, as well as showing the world just how corrupt certain Victorian Police departments are,” it reads.
It goes on to share the Instagram accounts of Mr Naumenko, Ms Williams and her teen daughter Dhakota.
But the producer claimed that the business deal turned nasty on July 9 when he was allegedly attacked by six people – including Ms Williams – at a Collingwood property and allegedly forced at gunpoint to ask relatives to transfer $17,000.
“There were six people there, including Roberta. I was told, ‘Talk and we will kill you, your mother and the kids’,” he told The Age.
Mr Naumenko later spoke to Seven News under the name Ryan Nemenko, showing a bruised neck.
It was not the first time Mr Naumenko has used a different name: His other aliases have included Bentley Naumenko, Mistah Stylez and Mr Infamous – to name a few.
In 2017 he was sentenced to six months’ jail while living in Mildura, for scamming Gumtree users.
But his criminal history goes back more than a decade to accusations he helped Russian criminals to steal money by moving the cash offshore through his bank account.
Last year he was again the centre of police attention, making claims he was bashed by “corrupt” elite police.
“They rushed me, knocked me down and began kicking and punching me in the ribs,” Mr Naumenko wrote at the time.
“I was defenceless, screaming ‘my son is in the room’ … and the police (were) laying into to me like I was an animal that needed to be stopped from attacking.
“I was rolled onto my stomach and both my hands and feet were zip tied. My mind was blank. I couldn’t hear anything. I was frozen with fear.”
He said he was raided by the elite Special Operations Group, which he said claimed he was being probed over bomb threats and links to Russian organised crime and president Vladimir Putin.
“I was never charged. I was never apologised to. I was never provided with a warrant. I was told the raid was ‘unauthorised’ by a detective I spoke to at West Melbourne Police Station when they returned (my) electronics,” Mr Naumenko wrote at the time, along with a video of the alleged damage to his house.
“I was and am still the victim of a corrupt police force.”
Victoria Police refused to comment on Mr Naumenko’s history of fraud when contacted by The New Daily on Wednesday.
Ms Williams and two others faced Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday afternoon.
A fourth person, a 27-year-old Greensborough man, was also arrested during the raids on five properties. Police continue to question him.
Sergeant Julie-Ann Newman confirmed detectives from the fraud and extortion squad had charged a 50-year-old Strathmore woman, a 24-year-old Greensborough man and a 24-year-old Craigieburn man with kidnap/false imprisonment, threats to kill/threat to inflict serious injury, intentionally recklessly cause serious injury, intentionally recklessly cause injury and theft.
Last month, a 36-year-old Princes Hill man was charged with the same offences in relation to the alleged incident.
He was bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court on October 8.
“The five arrests follow a report to police about an alleged serious assault in Collingwood on Tuesday, 9 July,” Sergeant Newman said.