So About that Avenatti 2020 Thing

Sweet jeeebus:

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti on 36 counts, including embezzlement, wire fraud, tax evasion and bank fraud connected to his alleged theft of tens of millions of dollars.

Beginning in 2015, Avenatti executed a scheme to defraud five clients, according to the indictment, one of whom was a paraplegic from whom Avenatti withheld a settlement payment of $4 million.

The indictment also accuses Avenatti of having failed to file multiple individual income tax returns, saying the last such return he filed with the IRS was in 2010.
After Avenatti negotiated settlements for the clients that required payment to go to them, he would lie to the clients about the terms of the settlements, instead depositing the funds to attorney trust accounts he controlled, the indictment says. He would then embezzle and misappropriate those funds. To prevent discovery of his scheme, he told clients the settlement proceeds hadn’t yet been paid, among other tactics.

In the case of the paraplegic client, for example, Avenatti, after having pocketed the client’s $4 million settlement, directed a small portion of what the client was owed, $124,000, to be paid to the client and made some payments to assisted living facilities to cover the client’s rent. But Avenatti denied to the client that the total settlement had already been paid.

As a result, that client was unable to purchase a house he sought. The client was also denied social security benefits when Avenatti failed to respond to the administration on the client’s behalf, fearing that disclosure of information the administration sought would expose Avenatti’s scheme.

What an asshole.

The thing I don’t understand about folks like Avenatti and Manafort and a lot of these other shmucks is how do they have the time to commit all these crimes? I mean that’s so many charges that you literally have to wake up bright and early every morning, have your morning coffee, and then start committing crimes. It literally has to be a full time job. It’s not a matter of “oops I wasn’t paying attention officer it was a nice day and the music was loud and that’s why I was going 78 in a 70” it’s “FUCK IT SET THE CRUISE CONTROL AT 130 AND DRIVE IN THE MEDIAN.”

Do they just think they aren’t going to get caught?






119 replies
  1. 1
    Plato says:

    Today, he became presidential material.

    ReplyReply
  2. 2
    Immanentize says:

    Do they just think they aren’t going to get caught?

    Yes.
    And if it weren’t for his publicity seeking personality disorder, he might not have been.

    ReplyReply
  3. 3
    PsiFighter37 says:

    What an idiot. That said, he was helpful in getting Cohen in trouble, so it wasn’t all for naught…but ironically, he might be looking at more prison time than Cohen.

    ReplyReply
  4. 4
    HRA says:

    Yes, they do not believe they will ever get caught, John. Same MO like the cretin in the WH.

    ReplyReply
  5. 5
    MaxUtil says:

    I’m guessing it takes a certain self-destructing mindset to just stop filing tax returns for 8 years when you’re a highly paid attorney and think that that won’t come back to haunt you even if you aren’t committing multiple counts of fraud and extortion.

    ReplyReply
  6. 6
    debit says:

    Do they just think they aren’t going to get caught?

    Yes

    ReplyReply
  7. 7

    Do they just think they aren’t going to get caught?

    Yes, they do. And if they hadn’t brought the publicity on themselves, they probably wouldn’t have been. Let’s face it, our criminal justice system tends to go after white collar criminals only when it’s shamed into doing so.

    ReplyReply
  8. 8
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Damn! I actually liked Avenatti. Who knew?

    ReplyReply
  9. 9
    hueyplong says:

    Mikey A is going to wish he lived in the EDVa when it’s sentencing time.

    ReplyReply
  10. 10
    MagdaInBlack says:

    Avenatti was/is a showboat. Yes, the info on Stormy Daniels and the payoffs was important, but Avenatti was destined to crash and burn. No surprise.

    ReplyReply
  11. 11
    dr. bloor says:

    Do they just think they aren’t going to get caught?

    Normally, I’d say “yes,” but maybe Avenatti just understood that the only sure-fire way to avoid indictment for serial crimes is by becoming POTUS.

    ReplyReply
  12. 12

    I feel somewhat smug about never having trusted this guy. Right from the beginning, there was something that turned me off. Obviously, he’s self serving; anybody who does what he does is going to be at least a little self serving. But, well, I just don’t know. Something about him kept smelling to me. I was kind of waiting for some shit like this to come out sooner or later.

    ReplyReply
  13. 13
    debit says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): I felt the same way. It’s one thing to be self confident, it’s another to be an arrogant fuck stick. He was an arrogant fuck stick.

    ReplyReply
  14. 14
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @PsiFighter37: True. Avenatti served a positive purpose although he turned out to be a huge douche.

    ReplyReply
  15. 15
    Mary G says:

    I always thought he was the liberal version of Trump – that #Basta thing he always did on Twitter was annoying as hell. And it turns out that like Trump he got away with lying and cheating for years and years.

    I do feel a bit sorry for Stormy Daniels – he filed that bogus lawsuit for her and pushed it so hard that the judge said she had to pay attorneys’ fees when he dismissed it, so she’s left holding the bag for a couple hundred thousand s.

    ReplyReply
  16. 16
    Eural Joiner says:

    @Plato:

    You just won the internets. Congratulations.

    ReplyReply
  17. 17
    Dmbeaster says:

    If you are motivated to commit these types of crimes, you never just do it once. Plus its easy money and becomes addicting, and such people believe that they can get out of hot water simply by committing more crimes. If they were actually afraid about consequences, then they would not do it. Once you stop fearing consequences, the sky is the limit.

    Kind of like Trump. Who knew Trump and Avenatti were soul mates.

    ReplyReply
  18. 18
    Ruckus says:

    He seemed like such a nice guy. 🙄

    ReplyReply
  19. 19
    Ruckus says:

    @Dmbeaster:
    Maybe he didn’t want to be shown up when Trump was stealing the election.

    ReplyReply
  20. 20
    Mom Says I*m Handsome says:

    To quote Josh Barro asking Ken White (Popehat): “Is Michael Avenatti a good lawyer?”

    Their “All The President’s Lawyers” podcast is delightful — a weekly half hour of Trump-related legal news, which spans the menagerie of Trump’s idjits — Avenatti, Cohen, Barr, Assange, Devin “CocaineYachtProstitute” Nunes, the whole cabal. Highly recommended.

    ReplyReply
  21. 21
    Ruckus says:

    JC
    They think they are smarter than everyone else. Most often the evidence doesn’t support that concept.

    ReplyReply
  22. 22
    patrick II says:

    There is a saying about the guy who would rather climb a tree and tell a lie rather than stand there and tell you the truth. For some people, breaking the law is for more than just personal gain, it is about asserting personal power. That they can get away with it and we can’t and that puts us in our place and them in theirs.

    ReplyReply
  23. 23
    dr. bloor says:

    @Mom Says I*m Handsome: Avenatti foaming at the mouth on Twitter at being called out by White is just a little bit tastier in light of recent events.

    ReplyReply
  24. 24
    rikyrah says:

    The thing I don’t understand about folks like Avenatti and Manafort and a lot of these other shmucks is how do they have the time to commit all these crimes? I mean that’s so many charges that you literally have to wake up bright and early every morning, have your morning coffee, and then start committing crimes. It literally has to be a full time job. It’s not a matter of “oops I wasn’t paying attention officer it was a nice day and the music was loud and that’s why I was going 78 in a 70” it’s “FUCK IT SET THE CRUISE CONTROL AT 130 AND DRIVE IN THE MEDIAN.”

    Do they just think they aren’t going to get caught?

    You made me LOL with this, Cole.

    The answer is…no, they don’t ever think that they will be caught.

    Kay swears that one of the Democratic Candidates should run on cleaning up White Collar Crime. As usual, I believe she’s absolutely on the money.

    ReplyReply
  25. 25
    catclub says:

    @MaxUtil:

    I’m guessing it takes a certain self-destructing mindset to just stop filing tax returns for 8 years when you’re a highly paid attorney

    I sure thought why the fuck did it take 8 years for the IRS to come after him, and it still looks like it was other stuff that set them off.

    I bet he has no W2 income. And interest income is all through trust accounts he controls.

    ReplyReply
  26. 26
    Brachiator says:

    I have not been following the Avenatti story, and won’t be paying much attention to it in the future. Seems mighty dumb to do illegal shit and then still try to bask in the limelight of publicity.

    Hope this kind of hubris eventually brings Trump down, as well.

    ReplyReply
  27. 27
    Kent says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yes, they do. And if they hadn’t brought the publicity on themselves, they probably wouldn’t have been. Let’s face it, our criminal justice system tends to go after white collar criminals only when it’s shamed into doing so.

    So how many hundreds of thousands or millions of Avenattis and Manaforts do we think are actually out there committing serial white-collar crime with absolute impunity because they are smart enough to just fly under the radar. I’m guessing that it’s almost certainly the case that both Avenati and Manafort would still be doing their thing had they not decided to take on high-profile media roles related to Trump.

    I’d guess that in my own upscale suburban neighborhood there is probably a couple given how some just seem to skate along with no visible means of employment yet still new cars and nice house and such.

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  28. 28
    Searcher says:

    At some point I assume you’ve also committed so many crimes that the marginal punishment for any additional crimes is inconsequential. Your reputation will already be destroyed when your actions become public, your body thrown in jail for the rest of your life, your soul condemned to hell.

    I’m sure some people find that incredibly liberating.

    ReplyReply
  29. 29
    Elmo says:

    When I was a very young lawyer, I worked for a boutique firm in SoCal specializing in plaintiff’s-side legal malpractice. We were doing God’s work, exposing and recovering $$ from thieving lawyers exactly like this one.

    We had one case where the client had been badly injured in a fall, including head injuries. Good liability case against the property owner and $1M of insurance. The lawyer found out about the accident and showed up in the client’s hospital room with a retainer agreement ready for him to sign. Did zero discovery. Took no depositions. When the case was finally about to go to trial, he did a quickie settlement for half the policy – which didn’t even cover all the medicals. Took his fee and gave the rest to the client directly, without advising him that there were medical liens on the money. When the poor client started getting dunning letters from medical providers, he told the client to take the money out of the bank and hide it.

    We took the legal malpractice case all the way through trial, and the mook showed up in tennis shoes every day and literally spun in his chair at counsel table. In front of the jury.

    That was a fun case to try.

    ReplyReply
  30. 30
    Kraux Pas says:

    @Mary G:

    I do feel a bit sorry for Stormy Daniels – he filed that bogus lawsuit for her and pushed it so hard that the judge said she had to pay attorneys’ fees when he dismissed it, so she’s left holding the bag for a couple hundred thousand s.

    Well, now she probably has a stronger case if she were to try to go after Avenatti for that money. If the man is giving poor counsel and defrauding his clients…

    ReplyReply
  31. 31
    catclub says:

    @rikyrah:

    Kay swears that one of the Democratic Candidates should run on cleaning up White Collar Crime. As usual, I believe she’s absolutely on the money.

    I disagree. I think it is like the war against drunk driving, and still in the years when enforcement was minimal, because too many people could imagine themselves in that position, so few sentences were opposed. It took 20 years or so by MADD to change attitudes.

    I think now, the opposition would be, “we can’t have a cleanup of white collar crime because anyone who did not pay their household help’s
    social security would go to jail.” – result no cleanup, since lots of people would identify with that. It would take 20 years of changing attitudes, first.
    PLus note that very few politicians actually got elected on the MADD policy bandwagon.

    ReplyReply
  32. 32
    sherparick says:

    1. Yes, they don’t think they are ever going to get caught, and for years, decades in fact, they have been right.

    2. They also think if they are caught, they think they will be able skate because they believe enough people owe them, they know where other’s have buried their bodies, and they are rich enough to hire the lawyers that will help them skate. And they are often right on this point – see Trump and his business career and all the Bank Executives and Investment Fund Managers in the years after the 2008 Financial Crisis.

    3. Finally, you misspelled “schmucks.” You forgot the “c” after the “s” and before the “h.”

    Signed,

    A Schmuck

    ReplyReply
  33. 33
    catclub says:

    @Brachiator:

    Seems mighty dumb to do illegal shit and then still try to bask in the limelight of publicity.

    yeah, this. Trump, Manafort, Flynn, Avenatti, seem to think hiding in the spotlight is the way.

    ReplyReply
  34. 34
    Emerald says:

    Oh I dunno about thinking they won’t get caught. They know that they might get caught or at least observed, but they’re rich white guys so they’re sure they won’t be prosecuted. Almost all of the time that’s quite correct.

    ReplyReply
  35. 35
    catclub says:

    @sherparick:

    And they are often right on this point – see Trump and his business career and all the Bank Executives and Investment Fund Managers in the years after the 2008 Financial Crisis.

    I think there was some book with “Chickenshit” in the title, about non-prosecutions when the target can afford much better lawyers than the DOJ. Remember the Epstein case, too?

    I still hate the settlement of all the clear perjury cases in mortgage foreclosure cases that nobody went to jail for – even the little people who could easily have been flipped to go after their bosses.

    ReplyReply
  36. 36
    sherparick says:

    @Kraux Pas: She put out a statement last month stating she had fired him, in part for conduct similar to the conduct that he was charged with and stated that she “was saddened, but not shocked.”

    See https://twitter.com/StormyDaniels

    ReplyReply
  37. 37
    germy says:

    President Trump, who often expressed his love of WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign, says following the arrest of Julian Assange on Thursday: "I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It's not my thing." pic.twitter.com/VwvOnLDJmw— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 11, 2019

    ReplyReply
  38. 38
    laura says:

    Yes, these tools are so confident they don’t believe they’ll get caught and eventually come to believe that they are entitled to grab all they can.
    It shouldn’t be a surprise that the IRS didn’t find out sooner, that agency has been gutted of staff since the whole Lois Lerner 501(c)3 misuse by political operatives’ ‘organizations. Audits are for poors and Joe and Jane Lunchbucket, not the mighty who bestride our once great nation.
    We serious growth in government to undo these years of fuckery – from line staff to white collar crime investigators and litigators and start filling our prisons with these criminals.
    Bring me the head of Grover Norquist!

    ReplyReply
  39. 39
    Kraux Pas says:

    @sherparick: Right, but can you sue a lawyer for damages when their bad counsel winds up costing you money?

    ReplyReply
  40. 40
    catclub says:

    Looks like the problem starts in 1980 or so.

    to the site fixers: could you drop the inserted “http://” prefix in the link box? I always just have to delete it.

    ReplyReply
  41. 41

    @Kent:

    So how many hundreds of thousands or millions of Avenattis and Manaforts do we think are actually out there committing serial white-collar crime with absolute impunity because they are smart enough to just fly under the radar.

    My guess is that really close scrutiny of most tax returns for people earning millions of dollars per year would show some kind of cheating. There’s very little incentive for rich people not to cheat. As long as they pretend they have a good faith reason to believe what they’re doing is legal and there isn’t documentary evidence to contradict it, it’s almost impossible to convict them of criminal tax fraud. The worst they’ll face is some kind of a penalty, and with a good lawyer that can often be negotiated away. Why wouldn’t they try to cheat?

    ReplyReply
  42. 42
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @catclub: not sure how it works where he is, but is many states, such as Georgia, interest on lawyer trust accounts (“IOLTA”) goes to fund legal services for the poor and other such things, and is not paid to the lawyer whose trust account it is.

    ReplyReply
  43. 43
    Betty Cracker says:

    @catclub: You think most regular people so routinely commit white collar crimes that they would oppose a crackdown? Really? I think most regular people are sick of watching fat cats get away with shit that they’d be put UNDER the jail if they did.

    ReplyReply
  44. 44
    catclub says:

    @laura:

    Bring me the head of Grover Norquist!

    Barry Rtiholtz would be willing to back a torches and pitchforks parade to Norquist’s house. I just linked to his article on wealth distribution.

    ReplyReply
  45. 45
    Keith P. says:

    @Patricia Kayden: I’m still bummed that the Avenatti-Mooch show never happened

    ReplyReply
  46. 46
    Gravenstone says:

    Something about the mindset/personality of folks like this that not only do they do all this shit (allegedly), but then they go and do all sorts of things to raise their fucking public profile – increasing the potential for discovery of their crimes. Risk taking/thrill seeking? What exactly is this?

    ReplyReply
  47. 47
    Medicine Man says:

    Maybe Avenatti just figured he’d get elected president and thus be above the law?

    ReplyReply
  48. 48
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Elmo:

    the mook showed up in tennis shoes every day

    Damn—is that a California thing? I can’t think of a single judge around here who would allow a lawyer in court dressed that way.

    See also “My Cousin Vinny”

    ReplyReply
  49. 49
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Kent:

    So how many hundreds of thousands or millions of Avenattis and Manaforts do we think are actually out there committing serial white-collar crime with absolute impunity because they are smart enough to just fly under the radar.

    Well, there’s everyone on Wall Street, the entire real estate development industry, lobbyists, pharmaceutical execs, just to name a few.

    ReplyReply
  50. 50
    catclub says:

    @Betty Cracker: I think enough have that they would worry. And the people who interested in sparking fear would make them worry.

    example 1 is not paying SS for maids and nannies.
    example 2 is lying on a mortgage application ( when you say that the loan from your parents is a gift, or vice-versa,)
    I bet lots and LOTS of people would be caught on that.

    About the only people who suffered from doing this in 2008 were the applicants who were told to make up numbers on their applications.
    And THEY were punished, not the mortgage re-sellers who should have been

    I think these would be prosecuted first, because they are easiest to get convictions on. Certainly they would be advertised as what over-zealous prosecutors would go after.

    ReplyReply
  51. 51
    bemused says:

    @germy:

    Oh wow, so typical. Trump: Wikiwhat?

    ReplyReply
  52. 52
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Roger Moore: It’s one thing to file a fraudulent return. But who would think it’s a good idea to just *not file at all* for like 8 years in a row?

    ReplyReply
  53. 53
    Elmo says:

    @Steve in the ATL: This was in the trial of the legal malpractice action where he was the defendant, not appearing as a lawyer. His malpractice carrier provided him counsel. He was still sitting at counsel table, though. Just so disrespectful. They were *white* sneakers, for Dog’s sake.

    ReplyReply
  54. 54
    Barbara says:

    @Elmo: I used to wonder about how lawyers end up getting disbarred. I had to work on a matter where a disbarred lawyer in California had discovered how to take advantage of certain laws and regulations to demand fees and penalties from scads of commercial entities. It was grifting all the way down and I assume that he had gotten disbarred because he had perpetrated some similar kind of scheme, except that it victimized clients. He teamed up with someone who still had a valid license.

    ReplyReply
  55. 55
    catclub says:

    @Roger Moore: even more so when congress specifically cuts back money to audit rich people.

    ReplyReply
  56. 56
    germy says:

    @bemused:

    Oh wow, so typical. Trump: Wikiwhat?

    Hey, Julian Assange – Trump says he "knows nothing" about Wikileaks. You got gaslit like the rest of us, you fascist bastard. https://t.co/JIefEU1tjg pic.twitter.com/yqjaW3fBDp— 🌹🏴 Rosebud (@010_10_101) April 11, 2019

    ReplyReply
  57. 57
    Barbara says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Guy was the defendant, not the lawyer.

    ReplyReply
  58. 58
    Hungry Joe says:

    Guys like Avenatti remind me of how difficult it is to empathize with certain types of people. If I were filthy rich I’d gather my accountants/money guys/advisors and say, “Now, I want all of you to make sure that on tax day I pay every cent I owe, that all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed — that everything I do is above board and compliant with all laws and regulations.” Because for me the enjoyment of being filthy rich would be tempered — okay, obliterated — by lying awake worrying about getting caught. Getting caught stealing money I DON’T EVEN NEED. Thus my inability to get into the heads of guys like this. I haven’t a clue what goes on in there.

    ReplyReply
  59. 59
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Elmo: @Barbara: ah. But still, I have had judges (federal, naturally) who sent jurors home to change it they weren’t wearing coats and ties.

    ReplyReply
  60. 60
    catclub says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    If I were filthy rich

    ignoring the observation that behind every great fortune is a crime.

    ReplyReply
  61. 61
    Gravenstone says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    Getting caught stealing money I DON’T EVEN NEED.

    See, that’s the problem. As far as the filthy rich seem to be concerned, they need ALL the money. And will be miserable until they fucking well have ALL the money.

    ReplyReply
  62. 62
    Steeplejack says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    I think the mook was the client/​defendant in this situation—being sued for legal malpractice.

    ETA: Ah. What Elmo said.

    ReplyReply
  63. 63
    Betty Cracker says:

    @catclub: Most people don’t have nannies and housekeepers, let alone staff that they pay under the table. I guess I’m more optimistic than you are about how widespread lying on mortgage documents is, but the white collar crime aspect of that should, as you said, target any lenders that encourage that behavior. Our white collar crime problem is enormous. I agree that white collar criminals won’t be too keen on a crackdown proposal, but I think most regular citizens would be on board for it.

    ReplyReply
  64. 64
    Elmo says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Good Lord. In California they have their hands full enforcing the “shoes and shirts” rule. But then, a Federal Judge is the closest thing we have in our system to a king. Or maybe an earl, the absolute ruler for life of his own little fiefdom.

    Heck, even *I* didn’t wear a suit when I was called for jury duty. I considered it a sufficient concession to decorum to wear my good boots with my jeans-and-blazer combo.

    ReplyReply
  65. 65
    cwmoss says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Same in Oregon re IOLTA accounts. And someone asked if you can sue a lawyer for damages if their bad advice causes you financial loss. The answer is yes, and in some states, lawyers are required to carry liability insurance to pay malpractice claims. Oregon was (I think) the first state to require such coverage.

    ReplyReply
  66. 66
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Gravenstone: That’s where empathy fails me. WHY do they “need” all the money? What can they possibly be thinking?

    @catclub: Balzac! Exactly! Maybe if I were able to make myself commit a great crime I could empathize.

    ReplyReply
  67. 67
    Gelfling 545 says:

    They do this crap then parade themselves in public, inviting attention. Clearly some never outgrow the teenage “I’m invincible” stage.

    ReplyReply
  68. 68
    laura says:

    @catclub: Thanks a bunch!

    ReplyReply
  69. 69
    Steeplejack says:

    @catclub:

    Ignoring the observation that behind every great fortune is a crime.

    Yeah, about that.

    ReplyReply
  70. 70
    Amir Khalid says:

    So I guess Avenatti isn’t running for President this cycle. But he wouldn’t have been more than a fringe candidate anyway. Right?

    ReplyReply
  71. 71

    Jeez. I thought this guy was at least smart, if not completely on the level. But a smart guy, who owes 8 years taxes, doesn’t make a big show out of pissing off the President. I suspect he might still be getting away with all this if some people hadn’t pulled some strings.

    ReplyReply
  72. 72
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Hungry Joe: The money is just a way of keeping score.

    ReplyReply
  73. 73
    Kraux Pas says:

    @Steeplejack: From the post you linked to

    Who is going to point out the great crime behind, say, J.K. Rowling’s fortune?

    She killed Fred Weasley and named Harry’s son atrociously.

    ReplyReply
  74. 74
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid: The recent first round of Ukrainian Presidential elections had 39 candidates on the ballot. I’m thinking the early Democratic primaries may get close. So who can say who’s “fringe”?

    ReplyReply
  75. 75

    @Hungry Joe:
    As I said above, though, it’s very difficult to get in really serious trouble as long as you at least pay lip service to following the law. If you tell your accountants “I don’t want to pay any more tax than I have to, but make sure everything you do is legal,” you are pretty much in the clear from a criminal standpoint. You might have to pay some tax penalties if it turns out your accountants didn’t take you seriously, but that’s the worst you’re likely to face.

    ReplyReply
  76. 76
    catclub says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    but I think most regular citizens would be on board for it.

    I am re-evaluating as we speak, but I think the MADD campaign is a fair model. Even though most people were in favor, a lot of not much happened for a long time.
    Contrast it with the crackdown on marijuana. Which was viewed as not being as likely to happen to ‘people like me’, versus driving slightly intoxicated, which ‘could be me’.

    ReplyReply
  77. 77
    Sebastian says:

    @Roger Moore:

    You solve this by increasing fines drastically. Proving intent is next to impossible and as you said, having great lawyers will get you off the hook anyway, but once the IRS decides that you underpaid you are on the hook financially. A progressively punishing interest, say 100%pA for everything above $1m would be a huge incentive to make sure you don’t game the system too much.

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  78. 78
    Wapiti says:

    @Barbara: Had a recent Lyft driver bemoaning the fact that he had been disbarred. Seriously, why anyone would blab about such a thing to a stranger is beyond my understanding.

    ReplyReply
  79. 79
    Sebastian says:

    Whoa, per WaPo Gregory Craig (frmr Obama WH Counsel) got indicted for false Ukraine statements.

    ReplyReply
  80. 80
    The Dangerman says:

    Do they just think they aren’t going to get caught?

    Of course not; who’s going to pay attention to an attorney for a porn star that fucked the President?

    ReplyReply
  81. 81
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Right? I mean, you don’t have to love a grand-standing lawyer, but I so wanted to think well of him for his masterly pantsing of *President Trump.

    ReplyReply
  82. 82
    JPL says:

    @catclub: As far as the nannies and housekeepers, most people that I know hire independent contractors to get around that.

    ReplyReply
  83. 83
    Martin says:

    Huh. White male thinks he can do whatever he wants. That’s a new one.

    ReplyReply
  84. 84
    Kay says:

    @rikyrah:

    swears that one of the Democratic Candidates should run on cleaning up White Collar Crime. As usual, I believe she’s absolutely on the money.

    One of the candidates is running on this- Warren. I think people respond to it in a personal way as a question of “fairness”. If they pay their taxes – and most people do pay their taxes- it’s unfair if rich people don’t.

    I mean, come on, WTF with this:

    Humphreys County, Mississippi, seems like an odd place for the IRS to go hunting for tax cheats. It’s a rural county in the Mississippi Delta known for its catfish farms, and more than a third of its mostly African American residents are below the poverty line. But according to a new study, it is the most heavily audited county in America.

    How does this even make sense? Shouldn’t they be looking where the money is? Maybe if they collect some taxes from people who have some money we could hire more IRS regulators.

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  85. 85
    Martin says:

    @Sebastian: If you cheat on $100K in taxes, you owe $300K in restitution, and we’re going to go back through the last 10 years and make sure you didn’t cheat on them as well. Anyone who cheats above a certain amount gets a mandatory audit on future returns.

    Anyone understand the real reason behind this

    Just in time for Tax Day, the for-profit tax preparation industry is about to realize one of its long-sought goals. Congressional Democrats and Republicans are moving to permanently bar the IRS from creating a free electronic tax filing system.

    It’s not just TurboTax lobbying, it’s also that the IRS forms would *prevent* you from cheating in quite a few categories because they have your 1099s. There are whole areas that couldn’t be misreported. By comparison, the 3rd party services can cheat on all of these areas and force the IRS to line things back up again. Only an IRS developed system can enforce payment. No other system can.

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  86. 86
    rikyrah says:

    Keep Your Homophobia Away From Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union’s Support of Their Child
    Corey Townsend
    Yesterday 2:30pm

    This past weekend, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade did what parents around the world should all do: They supported their child.

    Each year, a conglomerate of homosexuals swarm South Beach in Miami to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Miami Beach Pride brings people from all walks of life together to celebrate love and the freedom to be who they are.

    Wade’s 11-year-old son Zion Wade attended the march with his family, including his stepmom, Gabrielle Union. “We support each other with Pride,” Wade wrote on Instagram over a photo of his son at the event.

    What was meant to be a celebratory act of support turned into a chance for the degenerate to sling their homophobia and share their unsolicited opinions on the family’s activities.

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  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    You think most regular people so routinely commit white collar crimes that they would oppose a crackdown? Really? I think most regular people are sick of watching fat cats get away with shit that they’d be put UNDER the jail if they did.

    I don’t know, especially in the age of Trump, people envy the fat cats. They want to be among the ones who can get their idiot kids into prestigious schools and the ones who know the wink and nod that will let them get away with white collar crimes.

    And I try not to be too cynical, but I see lots of people who do illegal white collar shit and think it fine or minor, but then point at other people, usually people of color, who they think should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    So, yeah, not everyone has nannies and housekeepers, but in Southern California, tons of people pay people to clean their houses or do handy work or light construction and other day labor tasks, and pay the people under the table. The absolute worse people have regular employees who they pay as contractors, and generate Form 1099-MISC, and so avoid Social Security and Disability taxes.

    Also coming to mind are people who brag about not having certain types of home owner’s insurance, who figure that if shit happens, they will use a federal disaster area designation to get government help. And of course, these people are big on making sure that other people never get government benefits.

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  88. 88
    Kay says:

    @rikyrah:

    The map reveals wide variations in the audit rate from place to place, but also how certain groups of Americans are disproportionately affected by the IRS’ policies. The five counties with the highest audit rates are all predominantly African American, rural counties in the Deep South. The audit rate is also very high in South Texas’ largely Hispanic counties and in counties with Native American reservations, such as in South Dakota. Primarily poor, white counties, such as those in eastern Kentucky in Appalachia, also have elevated audit rates.

    Unfair! They really are supposed to apply these laws to everyone. It’ll be a lot more efficient too- they’ll collect more from fewer audits.

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  89. 89
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @bemused: You don’t think it’s possible Trump said he loved them without having the first clue? I mean, he IS so often clueless.

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  90. 90
    catclub says:

    @Kay:

    Shouldn’t they be looking where the money is?

    without reading the article, I think there is an IRS program specifically to look for cheating on EITC.
    Gazillionaires? They cut the money for auditing them. and They is Congress, which is us,
    and not necessarily just Republicans.

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  91. 91
    Baud says:

    So About that Avenatti 2020 Thing

    Trump is taking out his strongest rivals! Could Baud! 2020! be next?

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  92. 92
    rikyrah says:

    This Is Getting Really Dangerous

    Katherine Krueger
    Today 9:13am

    On Wednesday morning, Fox News used its biggest megaphone to amplify an attention-starved congressman’s bad faith charge against Rep. Ilhan Omar: that, in remarks before the Council on American-Islamic Relations, she characterized the Sept. 11 attacks as “some people did something.”

    That this is a willful misreading of her fuller point—that all Muslims in America have faced violence, intimidation, and discrimination as a result of the actions of a small group of extremists—shouldn’t surprise you. But still, this morning’s New York Post cover should take you aback:

    Is the Post—owned, like Fox News, by Rupert Murdoch—whispering in the ears of extremists everywhere? Whatever your thoughts on that, this has already gone entirely too far, and is likely to only pick up steam.

    The irony is that this narrative around Omar’s remarks is proving her exact point—bigots began widely equating terrorists with all Muslims after 9/11, but ask us not to do the same if the terrorist is white—so cutting off Omar’s remarks to make it seem like she was minimizing the attacks fits an Islamophobic narrative already entrenched on the right.

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  93. 93
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Kay: Have you read the ProPublica report about how influential rich people undermined an IRS program to investigate wealthy tax cheats? Infuriating. Warren’s anti-corruption proposals are one of the reasons she’s at the top of my list of primary candidates. The shit plutocrats get away with is outrageous.

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  94. 94

    @Elmo:

    In California they have their hands full enforcing the “shoes and shirts” rule.

    In my experience with jury duty, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone come to the jury room barefoot, and certainly not bare chested, though maybe those people never made it through security at the entrance. OTOH, I’ve never had anyone complain about my dressing in a polo shirt and chinos, so I can confirm that the dress code is pretty relaxed.

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  95. 95
    Brachiator says:

    @rikyrah:

    a conglomerate of homosexuals

    Is that the official term for a group of gays? I’ve always wondered. And I think it’s a “leap” of lesbians.

    More seriously, bless Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade for doing what parents are supposed to do, support their children.

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  96. 96
    Kay says:

    @catclub:

    Well, there is a focus on poor people at the behest of Republicans, but, again, that isn’t the deal the IRS made with the public. They don’t get to just focus on unpopular poor people or people who are easy to investigate because they don’t have any income and they file simple forms and get refunds which are easy to grab. The idea was we all had to follow the rules. No one said “this has to be both politically and operationally easy for you, of course”. All means all.

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  97. 97
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Immanentize: You have mail.

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  98. 98
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I don’t think people changed that much between when they perp walked the Enron people to now. They want the laws enforced! The vast, vast majority of people are law-abiding and it’s perfectly reasonable for them to expect that laws are enforced equitably.

    It’s not fair. I get that it’s easier to strong-arm poor people and there are more of them. That’s not the deal, that regulators could choose volume over equitable treatment. No one gave them that option.

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  99. 99
    West of the Rockies says:

    Well, if nothing else, Avenatti publically and effectively insulted Trump, Rudy, etc.

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  100. 100
    Elmo says:

    @Brachiator: We do not “leap.”

    We frolic.

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  101. 101
    cmorenc says:

    @MaxUtil:

    I’m guessing it takes a certain self-destructing mindset to just stop filing tax returns for 8 years when you’re a highly paid attorney and think that that won’t come back to haunt you even if you aren’t committing multiple counts of fraud and extortion.

    …which consequences likely include a lengthy suspension of Avanetti’s law license, if not permanent disbarment. After he’s paroled from a likely jail term, working as a waiter in a bar serving drinks is his most probable future employment.

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  102. 102
    bemused says:

    @germy:

    At least that made me smile.

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  103. 103
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Elmo: I bet it was! Counsel for his carrier must have wanted a combat bonus. A client spinning at the table? While wearing tennis shoes? I might have been tempted to do some client damage if I he didn’t listen to how to act in court advice.

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  104. 104
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    When I hear high profile, cable tv prosecutors say “it’s very difficult to prosecute these people” I hear “it’s easier to prosecute little guys, so we just do that”. That’s not acceptable. That’s not any kind of recognized standard. That’s a surrender.

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  105. 105
    J R in WV says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    @Elmo:

    the mook showed up in tennis shoes every day

    Damn—is that a California thing? I can’t think of a single judge around here who would allow a lawyer in court dressed that way.

    See also “My Cousin Vinny”

    But “the mook” wasn’t in court as a lawyer, he was there as a defendant. Maybe that’s different? Pretty funny, too.

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  106. 106
    Brachiator says:

    @Kay:

    Maybe if they collect some taxes from people who have some money we could hire more IRS regulators.

    There is or could be enough money. It’s all about budget priorities and deliberate Republican policy to shackle the IRS.

    @Roger Moore:

    As I said above, though, it’s very difficult to get in really serious trouble as long as you at least pay lip service to following the law. If you tell your accountants “I don’t want to pay any more tax than I have to, but make sure everything you do is legal,” you are pretty much in the clear from a criminal standpoint.

    I don’t think it works that way. And people think that CPAs have some magic mojo that they can use to have taxes come out any way they want. In the real world, accountants who cheat just hope that the taxpayer’s return is not caught.

    You might have to pay some tax penalties if it turns out your accountants didn’t take you seriously, but that’s the worst you’re likely to face.

    There are an increasing set of penalties for a tax preparer who knowingly prepares a false return, including penalties for failures of due diligence (doing shit you know was crazy) and a parallel set of penalties for a taxpayer who knowingly does bad shit.

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  107. 107
    J R in WV says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    But still, I have had judges (federal, naturally) who sent jurors home to change it they weren’t wearing coats and ties.

    I’ve been on state juries, and if the judge had sent any of us home to put on a coat and tie, none of us would have bothered his precious court room by returning to it. Fuck that nonsense! The arrogance and gall of that!!

    Not that I’m surprised, but …

    You can make me show up, actually I was proud to fulfill my duty, but you need to get off the horse when you have an opinion on my garb.

    I went to court like I was going to work, and so did the pavement layer guy, I wore a polo shirt and slacks and the paving guy wore clean work clothes. The coal miner was pretty well cleaned up, which was nice of him. Clean is all they can ask for in my book, and staying awake for the testimony…

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  108. 108
    ruemara says:

    I don’t know how to tell you this, but white men of a certain class have gotten away with literal murder for centuries. Of course they felt they’d get away with it, they’ve been getting away with it, their dads got away with it, their grandpas got away with it, their whole damned genetic history was full of getting away with it for nearly as long as they were able to scrawl a name on a sheet of paper.

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  109. 109
    rikyrah says:

    @ruemara:

    Nothing but truth here.

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  110. 110
    Mandalay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    our criminal justice system tends to go after white collar criminals only when it’s shamed into doing so

    .

    Not even. Our criminal justice system tends to go after white collar criminals only when the victims are rich white folks. If Bernie Madoff had ripped off (say) poor black people or the Chinese government he would have completed his community service long ago.

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  111. 111
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Plato:

    You won the internets.

    ReplyReply
  112. 112
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @J R in WV: these judges would send US marshals after anyone who didn’t show up as required, and anyone who was slow returning in “proper” dress

    Totally efficient use of marshals’ time

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  113. 113
    J R in WV says:

    @ruemara:

    I don’t know how to tell you this, but white men of a certain class have gotten away with literal murder for centuries. Of course they felt they’d get away with it, they’ve been getting away with it, their dads got away with it, their grandpas got away with it, their whole damned genetic history was full of getting away with it for nearly as long as they were able to scrawl a name on a sheet of paper.

    Hate to break the news to you, but many of them can’t scrawl a name!!

    They make a mark and someone else who can write then witnesses that mark for the illiterate fool making his X or whatever mark he can dredge up. Some of them are, I assume, nice guys, maybe, but illiterate? Sorry, Charlie!

    I once sold a truck to a nice guy, he pulled out his driver’s license to copy the “signature” onto the title documents… drew it from the sig on the license..~!!~

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  114. 114

    One of the saddest truths – and it’s something that’s been OBVIOUS since the economic meltdown in 2007-08 – is that our legal system does not look at fraud as a serious crime. Not until enough people raise a stink about it, or if the person in question ticks off the wrong government official.

    You can have lawyers ripping their clients off and doing it for years because 1) some may not understand that what their lawyer is doing is wrong, 2) they are unsure who they can take their problems to because they fear the system will be stacked against them and they’ll pay a price if they express even minor misgivings.

    My dad worked as a legal guardian and tried getting me into the profession during my unemployed years. We met a few shady characters who were doing a lot with Power of Attorney stuff… and it turned out later some of them were caught abusing POA to rip off people who weren’t even their clients.

    It’s a combination of arrogance (and greed) for themselves and awareness that others are ignorant of the law that a lot of these fraudsters operate without fear.

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  115. 115
    J R in WV says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    I’m believing you totally. Such a good use of the justice system, to attack a potential juror. As if that juror is going to be a neutral fact finder after that treatment!! Juror would find any way that would piss the judge off, guarantee a hung jury in most cases, make the judge do it again.

    Some of us do not respond well to intimidation…

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  116. 116
    Nettoyeur says:

    @germy: Mob boss.

    ReplyReply
  117. 117
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    Re: do they just think they won’t get caught. I want to answer “yes. Duh!” but that might sound like I was insulting your intelligence, rather than expressing a cynical view of the relative (un)importance of white collar crime.

    Remember: en masse, banks gave out thousands (millions?) of ARMs with cruddy terms to people (especially people of color) who wanted, qualified for, and thought they were getting, fixed rate mortgages. You don’t *do* that if you think there’s any chance of getting caught. That’s what makes the GOP excuse for the hideous regulatory failure called The Great Recession – that it was because poor people are evil and greedy – especially rich. They get hurt by fraud, they get blamed for the failure, and those poor, poor people in the banking industry had to do with 6 and 7 figure bonuses for a couple years. Boo hoo.

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  118. 118
    Ivan X says:

    This sucks. I was hoping he’d jump into the race.

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  119. 119

    “Do they just think they aren’t going to get caught?”

    I think you just described the entire Trump Crime Familly (TM).

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