The charges for attorney Michael Avenatti continue to mount and he has now been charged with the theft of millions of dollars from five past clients. He has also been charged with bank fraud, perjury, and income tax invasion as part of an indictment that includes 36 counts.
Avenatti is accused of pocketing settlement money that should have been paid to his clients. One of these clients is a former inmate who won a $4 million settlement from the county of Los Angeles. The former inmate was paralyzed after leaping from the second floor of a jail.
Prosecutors allege Avenatti only paid the client $124,000 of the $4 million settlement awarded to the client. The indictment alleges Avenatti funneled the rest of the money through multiple bank accounts including accounts for a coffee company and racing team owned by Avennatti.
The embattled attorney is also accused of using the majority of a $2.75 million settlement awarded to a second client to purchase a private jet for himself. The aircraft is now in the custody of federal officials.
Avenatti once represented adult film star Stormy Daniels when she sought to have a confidentiality agreement between herself and United States President Donald Trump voided.
Avenatti declared his innocence via Twitter and vowed to fight the charges against him. He says he is looking forward to the day the public will be provided with the entire truth pertaining to the charges against him.
A month ago, the state of California charged Avenatti with taking $1.6 million that belonged to a client and using false tax returns filed in Mississippi to access more than $4 million in loans.
Avenatti is accused of failing to pay personal income taxes for four years and not filing business taxes for his two law firms for the past three years. He has also not paid payroll taxes for his coffee shop even though none of the money seemed to trickle down to his employees.
The Los Angeles Times reports Avenatti could face up to 335 years in prison if he is convicted on all 36 counts in the indictment filed against him.
A New York Indictment filed against Avenatti a month ago alleges he attempted to extort Nike for millions of dollars. The allegation is that Avenatti threatened to reveal damaging information against the company if they did not provide him with monetary compensation for his silence.