Monday, 22 April, 2019

Officials expected to announce federal criminal indictment of attorney Michael Avenatti

Michael Avenatti's jet which was seized at Santa Barbara Airport on Wednesday Lawyer Avenatti Charged in California with US Fraud, Tax Crimes
Leonard Rios | 14 April, 2019, 00:28

Avenatti also faces an additional 47 years in prison for separate charges in NY, stemming from the attorney's alleged extortion of athletic company Nike.

An indictment filed against Avenatti, Wednesday, April 10, alleges he stole millions of dollars from clients, didn't pay his taxes, committed bank fraud and lied in bankruptcy proceedings.

Avenatti faces 19 tax-related charges.

Between September 2015 and January 2018, Global Baristas US, the company that operated Tully's, failed to pay the IRS $3.2 million in payroll taxes, including almost $2.4 million withheld from employees, the indictment said. Mr. Avenatti made false statements or lied to an IRS officer, opened a bank account to transfer and hide funds from credit card purchases made by consumers at his coffee shop, and told employees to despite cash from the coffee shop into a bank account which belonged to a vehicle racing business also ran by Mr. Avenatti.

"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.

The alleged crimes "are all linked to one another because money generated from one set of crimes appears in the other sets - typically in the form of payments to lull victims and to prevent Mr. Avenatti's financial house of cards from collapsing", said Hanna.

Amid the news reports, Avenatti said Thursday on Twitter that he intends to plead not guilty and "fully fight" the charges against him.

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" 'There have been collection efforts going on for many, many years, ' said Nick Hanna, the USA attorney in Los Angeles". He was released on a $300,000 bond and told reporters after a court appearance that he is "highly confident" that he will be exonerated. The aircraft has been seized by federal agents.

Daniels, who replaced Avenatti as her lawyer last month, has said she was "saddened but not shocked" by his arrest.

The client, referred to only as "Client 1" in the indictment, was identified as Geoffrey Johnson by his lawyer, Joshua Robbins. The Los Angeles Times reported that Johnson is the paraplegic man whom he allegedly withheld the multimillion-dollar settlement from.

On Thursday, Avenatti tweeted after the indictment was announced: "For 20 years, I have represented Davids vs. Goliaths and relied on due process and our system of justice".

In New York, Avenatti said last month that the case was pushed by Nike in an attempt to distract attention from what he called its crimes. He subsequently paid out small installments to Johnson and told him they were "advances" on the county settlement that he had not yet received.

"Knowing full well that the requested information could lead to inquiries that could reveal" the embezzlement, Avenatti ignored Johnson's request, causing the government to cut off his disability payments two months ago, according to prosecutors. In the NY case, Avenatti is accused of attempting to extort more than $20 million from sportswear company Nike.

Listen to the Guys Who Law talk about Avenatti's troubles below!

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