Michael Avenatti charged in 36-count federal indictment

Michael Avenatti's jet which was seized at Santa Barbara Airport on Wednesday

"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", U.S. Attorney Nicola Hanna in Los Angeles said Thursday at a press conference.

"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", Hanna said. In a press conference, Hanna confirmed that the jet was seized by federal authorities on Wednesday.

Avenatti allegedly scammed another client, a paraplegic man, out of a $4 million settlement without the client's knowledge, according to the indictment. Avenatti has said he is innocent. Avenatti told his client that these payments were "advances" on the settlement.

In the Johnson theft, the indictment alleges, Avenatti received $4 million from Los Angeles County in 2015 to settle the paraplegic's suit over his treatment at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility.

Avenatti responded on Twitter this morning, saying that he's made a lot of "powerful" enemies over two decades.

Avenatti allegedly tried to hide the scheme by derailing the client's attempt to buy a house and lying to the Social Security Administration about the settlement, resulting in the client losing his Social Security benefits in February, according to the indictment.

He is also accused of embezzling from another client's settlement of $1.6 million, which Avenatti denied receiving when he'd actually spent it all on personal expenses, prosecutors said.

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"According to court papers, Avenatti negotiated in January a $1.6 million settlement on behalf of an unidentified client, but prosecutors say he gave that client a bogus settlement agreement with a false payment date, concealing what he had done".

Listen to the Guys Who Law talk about Avenatti's troubles below! But when Johnson was in escrow to purchase the property, Avenatti falsely said he had not received the settlement funds, the indictment said.

According to the indictment, Avenatti withheld Tully's employment taxes from the IRS, and directed employees to deposit cash receipts into an account for Avenatti's vehicle racing company. The tax returns he presented to the bank were never filed to the IRS, prosecutors have said.

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. 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.

The attorney known for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in legal battles against President Donald Trump is accused of fraudulently obtaining bank loans and pocketing funds belonging to a client.

On Thursday, following the grand jury indictments in California, Avenatti declared that he plans "to fully fight all charges and plead NOT GUILTY".

He lost both of her lawsuits, and Daniels now owes the president almost $300,000 in legal fees, more than double the $130,000 in hush money that Trump paid her to keep quiet about their alleged 2006 affair.

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