Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Michael Avenatti Could Face 330 Years in Prison, Report Says

Michael Avenatti Could Face 330 Years in Prison, Report Says

Avenatti has denied stealing from clients and tweeted a statement signed by Johnson praising him as an "honest and ethical attorney".

The charges in California are an expansion of criminal charges filed there last month that accused Avenatti of misappropriating $1.6 million from a client and submitting fake tax returns to a MS bank to obtain $4.1 million in loans.

The indictment is very specific regarding the bank transactions that moved settlement funds around, and as any former prosecutor will tell you, bank records are nearly always where the government gets someone tripped up. Johnson was referred to as "Client 1" in the indictment, but was named at a recent court hearing involving the money Avenatti was ordered to pay his former partner.

Avenatti had been scheduled to face questioning about some of almost $15 million he owes attorney Jason Frank for legal work.

A jet co-owned by Avenatti was seized on Wednesday as part of the ongoing investigation, officials said.

If Avenatti is found guilty of all charges in the new indictment, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 335 years in prison. One of the clients whose money Avenatti stole was a mentally ill paraplegic who won $4 million from Los Angeles County.

"Money generated from one set of crimes was used to further other crimes", U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna told reporters.

Avenatti was also accused of using fraudulent tax returns to secure a bank loan.

Just weeks ago, Avenatti was charged in California and NY.

The new charges say he embezzled from a paraplegic man and four other clients and shuffled money between several accounts to deceive them.

"Michael Avenatti allegedly stole from his clients, and he stole from the IRS", said Ryan L. Korner, the chief of Internal Revenue Service criminal investigations in Los Angeles. "I look forward to the entire truth being known as opposed to a one-sided version meant to sideline me", Avenatti wrote in one tweet.

Avenatti, known for representing Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump, was arrested last month for allegedly attempting to extort millions of dollars from Nike.

The celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti has been charged with 36 counts of fraud, embezzlement, perjury, failure to pay taxes, and other financial crimes in Los Angeles, according to a newly unsealed indictment.

He lost both of her lawsuits, and Daniels now owes the president almost $300,000 in legal fees, more than double the $130,000 in hush money that Trump paid her to keep quiet about their alleged 2006 affair. He has said he expects to be cleared in that case.

Although Avenatti was due a portion of the more than $12 million he received for the five clients, the charges said he turned over only a fraction.

Avenatti's alleged scam caused his client, Geoffrey Ernest Johnson, to miss two months worth of Social Security Administration disability payments earlier in 2019, according to The Los Angeles Times.

"Avenatti concealed the receipt of the settlement from Client 1 and instead gave him periodic "advances" of no more than $1,900 and paid the rent for his assisted living facility", the statement said.

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