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Michael Avenatti indicted on 36 counts of financial crimes, faces 335 years



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A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted the celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti on 36 counts of perjury, fraud, failure to pay taxes, embezzlement, and other financial crimes, according to an indictment that was unsealed on Thursday and first reported on by The Los Angeles Times.

According to the LA Times, Avenatti stole millions of dollars from five clients by using a web of shell companies and bank accounts to cover his alleged misdeeds.

The maximum sentence Avenatti would face if convicted is 335 years in prison.

The lawyer pushed back the charges in a series of tweets Thursday.

“I am entitled to a FULL presumption of innocence and am confident that justice will be done once ALL of the facts are known,” he wrote.

According to the LA Times, one of the clients Avenatti allegedly stole from was a mentally ill paraplegic who won a $4 million settlement in a lawsuit against Los Angeles County. The report, which cited the indictment, said Avenatti received the money from LA county in 2015 but did not tell Johnson about it. Instead, he allegedly funneled most of the money through several bank accounts linked to a race-car team and coffee company he owned.

Then, Avenatti allegedly spent all the money in five months but did not tell Johnson about it. Instead, he paid Johnson $124,000 over the next four years and paid some rent on his behalf.

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