Michael Avenatti to plead guilty to stealing $10 million from celebrity clients in California court
Michael Avenatti, the twice-convicted attorney who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her case against former President Donald Trump, will plead guilty in California to stealing $10 million from clients.
In a June 12 court filing, the disgraced attorney said he wanted to admit his crime so he could “be responsible; accept responsibility; prevent its former customers from being further burdened; save the court and the government significant resources; and save his family from further embarrassment.
In 2019, federal prosecutors in California charged the brash attorney with 36 counts of fraud, perjury, tax evasion embezzlement and other crimes related to pocketing millions of dollars in client settlements, including withholding $4 million from a mentally ill paraplegic.
‘M. Avenatti received money on behalf of clients and simply took the money to fund his businesses and personal expenses,’ California U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said when the deed was unsealed. of accusation.
Avenatti, once high-flying, was sentenced to four years in federal prison in New York for embezzling $300,000 of the proceeds from Daniels’ book.
He was sentenced to two and a half years behind bars for a 2021 conviction for trying to extort $25 million from Nike. These sentences are carried out simultaneously.
Michael Avenatti has been trying to reach a settlement with federal authorities over California for more than a year on his 36-count indictment
Avenatti tried to justify taking some of the proceeds from the book by citing other legal quests he undertook for Daniels as he argued lawsuits filed on his behalf to undo the effects of a $130,000 payout. which she said she received in 2016 from Donald Trump’s personal lawyer to keep quiet about a date a decade earlier which Trump denied
Avenatti has been trying for some time to reach an agreement with the federal authorities on the California.
“Despite repeated efforts by Mr. Avenatti and his attorney over the past year, including substantial efforts over the past 30 days, the defendant has been unable to reach a plea agreement. with the government,” according to a request filed by H. Dean Steward, counsel for Avenatti.
The media-hungry attorney is accused in part of taking $4 million that Geoffery Ernest Johnson won from Los Angeles County for his incarceration in Twin Towers Jail.
Johnson attempted suicide by jumping twice from the upper floor of the dungeon, injuring himself to the point that he could no longer use his legs.
Avenatti took the settlement and funneled it through bank accounts and laundered it to shell companies, including his race car team and Seattle coffee company Global Baristas, to hide the money, accuse the prosecutors.
Avenatti is accused of hiding the settlement money from Geoffery Ernest Johnson (pictured), claiming the money could not be paid When he realized his alleged fraud would come to light, he rushed to Johnson and got him to sign a glowing testimonial about his services to cover himself up.
Beauty blogger Michelle Tran, pictured, lost $4million in stock sales to Michael Avenatti
The lawyer is accused of accepting a $2.75million settlement from NBA player Hassan Whiteside (right) which was intended for Avenatti’s client, the player’s ex Alexis Gardner (left), and spending most of it on a 2016 Honda Jet.
Within five months, Avenatti had exhausted the $4 million, but told Johnson the settlement money had not come in. In the meantime, Johnson’s disability benefits from the Social Security Administration were terminated.
“On a scale of 1 to 100, the contempt for his conduct ranks at 1,000,” Johnson’s attorney, Daniel Callahan, said when the indictment was released.
When Avenatti’s scheme seemed to fall apart, he tricked Johnson into signing him a glowing testimonial.
The prosecutor also accused of not having paid taxes for his various law firms for 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Prosecutors allege $2.5million was stashed away by Avenatti to buy a share of a small HA-420 private jet (file photo)
The indictment further accuses him of withholding $2.4 million in taxes from employees of Global Baristas, but never remitting it to the IRS.
He is also accused of pocketing another $2.75 million settlement for Alexis Gardner, the ex-girlfriend of Miami Heat player Hassan White.
The lawyer used most of the money to pay for a private jet.
Beauty blogger Michelle Phan and her business partner, Long Tran, were also victims of her scheme. The YouTuber with 8.8 million subscribers claimed that Avenatti embezzled $4 million in sales of stock from her beauty products company which she sold to an anonymous company, according to the daily beast.
He used some of the money to pay off his tax debt.
Businessman Gregory Barela regretted retaining Avenatti after the attorney withheld part of a $1.9 million settlement, according to the federal government.
Avenatti stole settlements from five clients in all.
From the recent filing, it’s unclear how many of the three dozen federal charges Avenatti will admit.
If convicted on all counts, the Century City attorney faces a maximum sentence of 333 years, according to the federal government.
THE CHARGES AGAINST AVENATTI
10 counts of wire fraud
Avenatti allegedly committed wire fraud by lying to five clients about their settlements in cases in which he represented them.
The total amount of money he allegedly embezzled is $10 million.
He is accused of not only hiding their payments from them, but of spending the money himself on private planes, reimbursing the IRS and funding his own businesses between 2015 and 2017.
19 counts of tax evasion
Avenatti has not filed personal income tax returns since 2010, it is claimed.
Between 2015 and 2017, his coffee company Global Baristas US failed to pay $3.2 million in federal payroll taxes.
More than $2 million of that figure was withheld from staff paychecks and spent by Avenatti himself, it seems.
Two counts of bank fraud
The two charges of bank fraud are related to the original indictment and allege he provided false financial information to obtain three loans totaling $4.1 million from the People’s Bank of Mississippi.
The false information included a tax return that was never sent to the IRS and him overestimating the resources of his law firm when he was on the verge of bankruptcy.
One said his company, Eagan Avenatti, had more than $500,000 in an operating account when it was said to have only $43,000.
Four counts of bankruptcy fraud
Three of the bankruptcy fraud charges allege that Avenatti submitted, under penalty of perjury, monthly operating reports that did not report all of the company’s accounts receivable in 2017.
Avenatti is accused of falsely testifying under oath at a June 2017 bankruptcy hearing denying that the company had received lawsuit-related fees when Eagan Avenatti had in fact received more than 1.3 million bucks.
New York affair 1
Conspiracy to commit extortion
Avenatti reportedly tried to extort Nike by saying he had information that implicated him in a college basketball scandal that paid off this year.
He reportedly told the company he would conduct an internal investigation for a $25 million fee instead of exposing it.
Nike reported it.
PHRASING: Two and a half years
New York Case 2
Accused of embezzling funds belonging to ex-adult film star Stormy Daniels to the tune of nearly $300,000.
PHRASING: Four years