Attorney Michael Avenatti’s second career as a cable news guest has already largely come to an end, but his larger lifestyle of getting in front of a camera, microphone, or social media keyboard at any opportunity may also be reaching its conclusion. Indeed, if federal prosecutors have their way with the Creepy Porn Lawyer, Avenatti may be ready to embark on a grand third act: From the courtroom, to the limelight, and finally, to a prison cell.
On Thursday, a federal grand jury expanded the charges against Avenatti, slapping him with 36 new counts of fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, perjury, and myriad other financial crimes. According to the grand jury’s return bill, the former lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels stole millions from his clients only to use a variety of shell companies and banks to hide the theft from the authorities.
Among Avenatti’s alleged misdeeds:
- Hiding a $4 million settlement from a “mentally ill paraplegic on disability” for years after winning a settlement from Los Angeles County.
- Concealing $2.75 million in settlement funds from another client’s courtroom victory – he used the money to buy a private jet for his own company.
- Ducking millions of dollars in back taxes as his law firm slid towards bankruptcy in 2017.
“Michael Avenatti allegedly stole from his clients, and he stole from the IRS,” said Ryan Korner, the director of IRS criminal investigations in L.A. “The money was used to fuel a lavish lifestyle that had no limits, including making mortgage payments on a multimillion-dollar home in Laguna Beach and purchasing a private plane.”
In just this federal case (which is only one of several Avenatti is currently facing), the hot-shot attorney is looking at a maximum of 335 years in prison if convicted on all counts. If he is convicted in New York for trying to run an extortion scheme against Nike, it could add another 47 years to his prison stay.
Keep in mind, this guy was mulling a run for the White House not that long ago.
It’s a damn shame when bad things happen to good people. Thankfully, this isn’t one of those times.