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By Tim Brown
Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels against President Donald Trump and was later arrested for allegedly beating a woman, has been arrested and charged after trying to extort athletic company Nike for $20 million.
Avenatti took to Twitter to announce a press conference he was going to hold to disclose a huge high school/college basketball scandal that was allegedly perpetrated by Nike that he claims to have uncovered.
However, according to the criminal complain, Avenatti devised “a scheme to extort a company by means of an interstate communication by threatening to damage the company’s reputation if the company did not agree to make multi-million dollar payments to Avenatti and [co-conspirator], and further agree to pay an additional $1.5 million to a client of Avenatti’s.”
BREAKING: Attorney Michael Avenatti criminally charged with four counts of extortion and related conspiracy counts.
Press conference at 2:30 pm. pic.twitter.com/dXUXqITQMZ
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) March 25, 2019
Avenatti Complaint by on Scribd
Federal authorities also claimed Avenatti and a cooperating witness spoke by phone with lawyers for Nike “during which Avenatti stated, with respect to his demands for payment of millions of dollars, that if those demands were not met ‘I’ll go take ten billion dollars off your client’s market cap… I’m not f—ing around.’”
Officials address arrest of Avenatti related to Nike extortion case https://t.co/ssOGC6vT6U
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) March 25, 2019
And there’s more. Avenatti isn’t just charged with extortion, but also bank fraud.
Officials call Michael Avenatti "a corrupt lawyer" who "fights for his own selfish interests," say the allegations against him "paint an ugly picture of lawless conduct and greed" https://t.co/HuSzfp0oip pic.twitter.com/9SF1l5Yncv
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 25, 2019
Tyler Durden reported:
A second set of charges allege he embezzled a client’s money in order to pay his own expenses and debts — as well as those of his coffee business and law firm — and also defrauded a bank by using phony tax returns to obtain millions of dollars in loans.
Avenatti also allegedly defrauded a bank in Mississippi by submitting to the lender false tax returns in order to obtain three loans totaling $4.1 million for his law firm and coffee business in 2014. According to the affidavit, Avenatti obtained the loans by submitting fabricated individual income tax returns (Forms 1040) for 2011, 2012, and 2013, reporting substantial income even though he had never filed any such returns with the Internal Revenue Service.
The phony returns stated that he earned $4,562,881 in adjusted gross income in 2011, $5,423,099 in 2012, and $4,082,803 in 2013, according to the affidavit. Avenatti allegedly also claimed he paid $1.6 million in estimated tax payments to the IRS in 2012 and paid $1.25 million in 2013. In reality, Avenatti never filed personal income tax returns for 2011, 2012 and 2013 and did not make any estimated tax payments in 2012 and 2013.
Instead of the millions of dollars he claimed to have paid in taxes, Avenatti still owed the IRS $850,438 in unpaid personal income tax plus interest and penalties for the tax years 2009 and 2010, court papers state. The affidavit also alleges that, as part of his loan applications, Avenatti also submitted a fictitious partnership tax return for his law firm.
Avenatti reportedly negotiated a $1.6 million settlement on behalf of a client, then turned around and gave the client a “bogus settlement agreement” with a fake date and fake amount. He used the stolen money to pay “expenses” for his coffee business.
That office said “Avenatti misappropriated his client’s settlement money and used it to pay expenses for his coffee business, Global Baristas US LLC, which operated Tully’s Coffee stores in California and Washington state, as well as for his own expenses.”
“When the fake March 2018 deadline passed and the client asked where the money was, Avenatti continued to conceal that the payment had already been received, court documents said,” according to prosecutors.
“A lawyer has a basic duty not to steal from his client,” said U.S. Attorney for Los Angeles Nick Hanna.
“Mr. Avenatti is facing serious criminal charges alleging he misappropriated client trust funds for his personal use and he defrauded a bank by submitting phony tax returns in order to obtain millions of dollars in loans.”
Full complaint here.
It’s been a bad few days for the #resistance.
As for Stormy Daniels, she put in her two cents on Avenatti, which was less than glowing seeing that she was trusting him to represent her. Her statements are quite telling about him and her.
My statement regarding my former attorney Mr. Avenatti.. pic.twitter.com/9aKYCPNN6y
— Stormy Daniels (@StormyDaniels) March 25, 2019
All I have to say is, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
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