Attorney Michael Avenatti Indicted on 36 Counts of Embezzlement, Fraud, Tax Evasion
12 April, 2019, 10:45 | Author: Trevor Moore
Federal agents confirmed with Fox News that they had seized a Honda HA-420 twin-engine jet-worth $4.5 million-on April 10 after a federal judge issued a warrant.
The indictment said Avenatti made false statements in bankruptcy proceedings by submitting forms under penalty of perjury that under reported income his firm received. Prosecutors said he allegedly told Johnson that he had not received the payout from a settlement from Los Angeles County yet, but instead gave him at least 69 payments worth an estimated $124,000 in total and paid for his assisted living facility. The attorney is accused of stealing "millions of dollars from five clients and used a tangled web of shell companies and bank accounts to cover up the theft".
In November, when the U.S. Social Security Administration requested information to determine if Johnson should continue to receive disability benefits, Avenatti said he would respond, but didn't because he knew it could lead to the discovery of his embezzlement, the indictment said.
"As it turns out, within months of receiving the settlement proceeds in 2015, Mr. Avenatti had drained the entire $4 million payment from his trust account, using significant portions of these funds to finance his coffee business, his auto-racing enterprise and his own personal lifestyle", Hanna said Thursday.
After a court appearance Monday, Avenatti said he's long represented "Davids versus Goliaths" in the same justice system in which he now faces charges.
After prosecutors announced plans for Thursday's press conference, Avenatti tweeted that he remains "confident that justice will be done once ALL of the facts are known".
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"Any claim that any monies due clients were mishandled is bogus nonsense". He responded "no" when he was asked whether Eagan Avenatti had received legal fees when it was representing ticket holders who sued the National Football League over seating snafus at the 2011 Super Bowl in Texas.
Avenatti was charged with 19 tax-related offenses including failure to file personal income tax returns since 2010, and other tax returns for two of his law firms. Prosecutors say he submitted phony tax returns and financial statements to Peoples Bank of MS to secure more than $4.1 million in business loans.
Lawyers for Avenatti did not immediately return calls for comment on the statement.
Between September 2015 and January 2018, Global Baristas US, the company that operated Tully's, failed to pay the Internal Revenue Service $3.2 million in payroll taxes, including almost $2.4 million withheld from employees, according to the indictment. He is accused of obstructing IRS efforts to collect the taxes and of lying to an IRS revenue officer.
In a tweet, Avenatti said he intends "to fully fight all charges and plead NOT GUILTY". Trump has denied the affair.
In recent months, Avenatti has attached himself to other controversial matters, representing a woman who claimed misconduct by US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh while he was in high school and several parties connected to a case against musician R. Kelly.
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