Michael Avenatti charged in 36-count federal indictment

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) called out Michael Avenatti and some media outlets after the attorney was nailed with a 36-count indictment for tax evasion and defrauding clients, among other things.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a grand jury indicted Avenatti on "36 counts of fraud, perjury, failure to pay taxes, embezzlement and other financial crimes".

Avenatti's tweet Thursday included a "client testimonial" bearing a signature purportedly from Johnson that said Avenatti is "an exceptional, honest and ethical attorney and I feel fortunate to have had him represent me". Along the way, I have made many powerful enemies.

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". Check back for updates.

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said during a press conference on April 11 that the alleged crimes-which fall under wire fraud, tax fraud, bank fraud, and bankruptcy fraud-were all linked to one another because "money generated from one set of crimes was used to further other crimes, typically in the form of payments created to string along victims so as to prevent Mr. Avenatti's financial house of cards from collapsing".

Avenatti embezzled settlement funds and proceeds of other matters he handled from five clients and doled out small portions of what they were due to "lull" them into thinking they were getting what they were owed, prosecutors said. In a press conference, Hanna confirmed that the jet was seized by federal authorities on Wednesday.

More news: Missing Japanese F-35 Could Be A Major US Security Threat

The New York prosecutors have separately accused Avenatti of trying to blackmail athletic wear maker Nike Inc for more than $20 million.

Avenatti denied the allegations in posts on Twitter. After the IRS sought those unpaid taxes through a lien and levy notices to financial institutions that did business with the coffee company, Avenatti lied to IRS officials about his involvement in the chain's finances, the indictment says. Avenatti also offered to accept a $22.5 million payment for his silence, prosecutors said.

The IRS reportedly began investigating Avenatti more than a year ago, though it's also been noted that that attorney "began to run afoul of the IRS nearly a decade ago" by failing to file income tax returns.

Those clients include "Client 1", a man who is paraplegic and who won a $4 million settlement from Los Angeles County.

Further, Avenatti faces two counts of bank fraud relating to filing false tax returns to obtain millions of dollars in bank loans, and four counts of bankruptcy fraud for lying about the bankrupty concerns surrounding his law firm Eagan Avenatti.

Avenatti also involved himself in the investigation of sexual abuse charges against R&B singer R. Kelly by giving the Chicago state's attorney's office what he said was a tape of the performer having sex with an underage girl.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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