Michael Avenatti Indicted on 36 Federal Charges Including Tax Fraud and Theft

Michael Avenatti Indicted on 36 Federal Charges Including Tax Fraud and Theft

Michael Avenatti Indicted on 36 Federal Charges Including Tax Fraud and Theft

The indictment announced Thursday in Los Angeles alleges Avenatti stole millions of dollars from clients, didn't pay taxes, committed bank fraud and lied during bankruptcy proceedings.

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 indictments against Avenatti are for wire fraud, tax fraud, bank fraud and bankruptcy fraud. Prosecutors say he failed to file personal income tax returns since 2010 and did not file tax returns for his law firms, which led to his not paying millions in taxes.

When the IRS put tax levies on coffee company bank accounts to collect more than $5 million, Avenatti had Tully's employees deposit cash receipts in a little-known account, the indictment said.

"If convicted of the 36 crimes alleged in the indictment, Mr. Avenatti would face a statutory maximum sentence of 333 years in federal prison plus a mandatory two-year consecutive term for an identity theft count", said an official in the CBS video.

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna says the four areas of alleged criminal conduct are all linked to each other because money generated from one set of alleged crimes appears in other sets of alleged crimes.

The embattled attorney was previously indicted in California on bank- and wire-fraud charges and in NY on extortion charges related to an alleged attempt to blackmail Nike, but the indictments handed down Thursday represent a dramatic escalation of his legal troubles: They could result in a maximum sentence of 335 years in prison.

CBS News, meanwhile, reported that he could face more than 300 years behind bars if he is convicted of all the charges.

Two years after the settlement was reached, Avenatti allegedly helped Johnson find a real estate agent to buy a house.

In fact, the indictment says, Avenatti "well knew" that the firm had received almost $1.4 million on May 17, 2017.

The indictment accuses Avenatti of lying during his June 2017 testimony in the bankruptcy case.

Avenatti has waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

"This case is based on the facts and the documents", Hanna said.

Avenatti was indicted late Wednesday on the charges following his arrest in NY last month for allegedly trying to shake down Nike for up to $25 million. Avenatti told his client that these payments were "advances" on the settlement.

He also tweeted a signed statement from Geoffrey Johnson praising Avenatti for advocating for him. The client was also denied disability benefits in February 2019 after Avenatti failed to respond to the Social Security Administration on the client's behalf, allegedly fearing that disclosure of information the administration sought would expose Avenatti's scheme. For years, Avenatti hid the money from Johnson, who relies on disability payments, spending the entire sum in over five months.

Avenatti gained national attention as the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, the porn star with whom President Donald Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen brokered an illegal hush money agreement.

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