Avenatti stole millions from clients

Avenatti stole millions from clients

The new charges follow Avenatti's arrest in NY last month for allegedly trying to shake down Nike for up to $25 million and on two counts of wire and bank fraud from Southern California, where his firm is based.

"More than four years later, Client 1 is still waiting to receive his portion of the settlement", U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said at a press conference in Los Angeles.

Avenatti denied the charges on Twitter, saying he had made powerful enemies and would plead not guilty and fight the case.

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.

Federal prosecutors say attorney Michael Avenatti has been charged in a 36-count federal indictment in Southern California.

Wednesday's indictment comes two weeks after federal prosecutors in Manhattan and Los Angeles charged Avenatti, who became a household name during his representation of adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, almost simultaneously in two criminal cases.

Prosecutors say Avenatti misled clients and misused their funds to pay personal and legal expenses, to finance a coffee shop business he also ran and to pay for his share of a Honda private jet, according to the indictment.

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"Money generated from one set of crimes was used to further other crimes, typically in the form of payments created to string along victims, so as to prevent Mr. Avenatti's financial house of cards from collapsing", Hanna said.

The indictment also said he defrauded a MS bank of $4.1 million in loans by submitting false tax returns for 2011 to 2013 that inflated his income. "I am entitled to a FULL presumption of innocence and am confident that justice will be done once ALL of the facts are known", he said.

Following Avenatti's arrest last month, The Washington Post's Devlin Barrett and Elise Viebeck reported that it marked "the latest and most remarkable chapter in the odd public saga of the California lawyer".

In another case, Avenatti won a $2.75 million settlement for a client.

The indictment also indicates that because Avenatti failed to respond to the U.S. Social Security Administration's request for information about the paraplegic, the client then had his Supplemental Security Income benefits discontinued in February.

"Any claim that any monies due clients were mishandled is bogus nonsense". Federal authorities seized the jet on Wednesday, prosecutors said. But when Johnson was in escrow to purchase the property, Avenatti falsely said he had not received the settlement funds, the indictment said.

Avenatti's tweet Thursday included a "client testimonial" bearing a signature purportedly from Johnson that said Avenatti is "an exceptional, honest and ethical attorney and I feel fortunate to have had him represent me". According to the indictment, one of the clients Avenatti allegedly defrauded was paraplegic.

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