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?