Disgraced progressive provocateur Michael Avenatti is being accused of pocketing more than $2 million in settlement money intended for an NBA player’s ex-girlfriend.
The reports represent the latest accusations of criminal activity on the part of the pugnacious attorney, who is currently being charged with extortion for an alleged shakedown of Nike.
The reports of embezzlement first surfaced in the grand jury indictment of the California lawyer.
Alexis Gardner, a waitress and barista, is claiming that Avenatti stole around $2 million that she was awarded through a legal settlement with her ex-boyfriend, the Miami Heat’s Hasan Whiteside. Whiteside is said to have wired a payment of $2.75 million to Avenatti intended for his ex immediately. But Avenatti told her she’d be receiving a series of 96 monthly payments, only 11 of which he made. The showboat attorney, who was entitled to no more than $1 million in legal fees, is accused of spending the rest of the money on a deposit for a private plane.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Avenatti’s scam of Gardner was repeated with some of his other clients. Prosecutors say that Avenatti also embezzled money from Geoffrey Ernest Johnson, a mentally disabled paraplegic man, and Michelle Phan, a makeup YouTuber.
If the charges of embezzling money from clients are accurate, Avenatti would predictably face disbarment by the State of California as a practicing lawyer. But he could be facing even more serious punishment related to white collar criminal activity.
The showboat is currently facing a load of 36 criminal charges in connection to his supposed extortion of Nike, with a hefty maximum penalty of 333 years in prison if found guilty. That would be a long way to fall for the former cable news regular touted by some in mainstream media just a few months ago as the future Presidential candidate of the Democratic Party.
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