• Advertisement
To advertise, place classifieds free ads by category in a forum as a new topic, or in the classified display ads section, or start a classifieds free blog.

Stormy Daniels' ex-lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested for alleged $20 million extortion scheme against Nike, embezzling client

Stormy Daniels' ex-lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested for alleged $20 million extortion scheme against Nike, embezzling client

Postby smix » Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:19 am

Stormy Daniels' ex-lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested for alleged $20 million extortion scheme against Nike, embezzling client's money, defrauding bank
CNBC

URL: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/25/michael ... fraud.html
Category: Legal
Published: March 25, 2019

Description: Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti was arrested Monday in New York City on charges of trying to extort up to $25 million from Nike by threatening to publicize claims that company employees authorized payments to the families of top high school basketball players. Avenatti also was separately charged in a second federal case in Los Angeles with embezzling a client's money "in order to pay his own expenses and debts" and those of his law firm and coffee company, and of "defrauding a bank in Mississippi," prosecutors said. He faces almost 100 years in prison if convicted in both cases as well as possible disbarment as a lawyer. The famously aggressive litigator gained widespread notoriety in the past year for representing porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen.

michael-avenatti-stormy-daniels.jpg

Those cases were related to a nondisclosure agreement she signed on the eve of the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump in exchange for a $130,000 payment. Avenatti was due to be released from Manhattan federal court after a hearing, and after signing a $300,000 personal recognizance bond. No actual money is posted for such bail; Avenatti would forfeit property or cash equivalent to the dollar amount of the bond if he fails to appear in court for future hearings. Avenatti, who was dressed in a dark navy blue suit, dark shoes, a white shirt and a bright blue tie, was ordered by a judge to surrender his U.S. and Italian passports, and barred from traveling anywhere in the United States other than New York City, Long Island, several counties just north of Manhattan and the Central District of California, which includes the Los Angeles area. At the hearing, where he was represented by a federal public defender, Avenatti was also ordered to have no contact with his alleged co-conspirator, fellow high-profile lawyer Mark Geragos, who is not criminally charged in the case. Avenatti must appear in Los Angeles to face charges there on April 1. The judge also ordered that Avenatti may not transfer $5000 or great from any account he controls without approval from federal pre-trial services officials. His hearing in New York occurred in the same courthouse where Cohen pleaded guilty to criminal charges that included ones relating to that hush-money deal. Last year, Avenatti announced that he was considering running for president, but later decided not to run. Daniels replaced Avenatti as her lawyer earlier this month after a fallout with him. Daniels, in a statement released by her new lawyer Clark Brewster, told CNBC that, "Knowing what I know now about Michael, I'm saddened but not shocked regarding his arrest." "I made the decision weeks ago to terminate Michael's services after discovering that he had dealt with me extremely dishonestly, and I will have my own announcement coming soon," Daniels said. Avenatti, 48, was arrested in Midtown Manhattan at the law offices of Boies Schiller Flexner at 12:30 p.m. ET by FBI agents, about 15 minutes after he tweeted that he would be disclosing a big high school and college basketball scandal "perpetrated by" Nike that he supposedly had uncovered. Boies Schiller lawyers were representing Nike, and were scheduled to meet Monday with at their office with Avenatti and his unidentified co-conspirator to discuss Avenatti's demands, according to the company and prosecutors. Nike stock initially nose dived after Avenatti's tweet, but later recovered much of the losses. The co-conspirator was identifed by sources to NBC News as Geragos, a California criminal defense lawyer. Geragos is currently representing actor Jussie Smollet in a case where the "Empire" cast member is accused of lying to Chicago cops about a purported hate-crime attack. A person who answered Geragos's office phone told CNBC, "We are not at liberty to speak on the matter. We are not releasing any comments." Geragos is being represented by prominent New York criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman. Brafman declined to comment when contacted by CNBC. A CNN spokeswoman said that Geragos no longer is a contributor to that news network. Prosecutors said Avenatti's alleged effort to shakedown Nike for millions of dollars kicked off in earnest last Tuesday, and quickly escalated over the next two days as he threatened to hold a press conference accusing the company of being involved in bribing amateur basketball players. Avenatti alleged timed his threat to coincide with Nike's quarterly earnings call and the kickoff the National Collegiate Athletic Association's national championship basketball tournament. According to a criminal complaint, Avenatti offered to refrain from that press conference "only if Nike made a payment of $1.5 million to a client of Avenatti's in possession of information damaging to Nike ... and agreed to 'retain' Avenatti and [the co-conspirator] to conduct an 'internal investigation' — an investigation that Nike did not request — for which Avenatti and [the co-conspirator] demanded to be paid, at a minimum, between $15 [million] and $25 million." The co-conspirator is "an attorney licensed to practice in the state of California, and similarly known for representation of celebrity and public figure clients," the complaint said. The client of Avenatti's is "a coach of an amateur athletic union ... men's basketball program based in California," who for a number of years had a sponsorship agreement with Nike, the complaint said. The complaint says that on Wednesday, Avenatti and a cooperating witness spoke by phone with lawyers for Nike "during which Avenatti stated, with respect to his demands for payment of millions of dollars, that if those demands were not met 'I'll go take ten billion dollars off your client's market cap ... I'm not f---ing around.'" On Thursday, Avenatti tweeted a link to a CBS News story from early March about the sentencing of three men, including a former Adidas executive and a former Adidas consultant, who were found guilty of conspiring to defraud the University of Louisville and the University of Kansas by funneling money to basketball recruits to those colleges with the goal of eventually signing the players to Adidas endorsement deals. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, speaking at a press conference in Manhattan, said, "Avenatti's conduct had nothing to do with valid advocacy on behalf of a client or any other kind of legitimate legal work. Instead, Avenatti used illegal and extortionate threats for the purpose of obtaining in payments for himself," "A suit and tie does not mask the fact that at its core, this was an old-fashioned shake down," Berman said. The prosecutor also said that the investigation is continuing. In the Los Angeles case, Avenatti is charged two criminal counts: wire fraud and bank fraud. His presentment in that case will occur at a later date. In a statement, Nike said, "Nike will not be extorted or hide information that is relevant to a government investigation." "Nike has been cooperating with the government's investigation into NCAA basketball for over a year," the company said. "When Nike became aware of this matter, Nike immediately reported it to federal prosecutors. When Mr. Avenatti attempted to extort Nike over this matter, Nike with the assistance of outside counsel at Boies Schiller Flexner, aided the investigation." "Nike firmly believes in ethical and fair play, both in business and sports, and will continue to assist the prosecutors," the company said. Avenatti's law firm in Los Angeles had no immediate comment. The White House did not immediately comment. But Trump's re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted a reference to Avenatti's arrest and to the release of a summary of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller that did not end in criminal allegations against the president. In the Los Angeles federal case, Avenatti is accused in a 197-page complaint of negotiating a $1.6 million settlement for a client in a civil case, but then giving the client "a bogus settlement agreement with a false payment date of March 10, 2018." The U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles said "Avenatti misappropriated his client's settlement money and used it to pay expenses for his coffee business, Global Baristas US LLC, which operated Tully's Coffee stores in California and Washington state, as well as for his own expenses." "When the fake March 2018 deadline passed and the client asked where the money was, Avenatti continued to conceal that the payment had already been received," according to prosecutors. "Mr. Avenatti is facing serious criminal charges alleging he misappropriated client trust funds for his personal use and he defrauded a bank by submitting phony tax returns in order to obtain millions of dollars in loans," U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said. Hanna's office said Avenatti also allegedly defrauded a bank in Mississippi by submitting to that bank fake tax returns to get three loans totaling $4.1 million for his law firm and coffee business in 2014. The tax returns indicated that he had "substantial income even though he had never filed any such returns with the Internal Revenue Service," the prosecutor's office said. "The phony returns stated that he earned $4,562,881 in adjusted gross income in 2011, $5,423,099 in 2012, and $4,082,803 in 2013. ... Avenatti allegedly also claimed he paid $1.6 million in estimated tax payments to the IRS in 2012 and paid $1.25 million in 2013." "In reality, Avenatti never filed personal income tax returns for 2011, 2012 and 2013 and did not make any estimated tax payments in 2012 and 2013," Hanna's office said. "Instead of the millions of dollars he claimed to have paid in taxes, Avenatti still owed the IRS $850,438 in unpaid personal income tax plus interest and penalties for the tax years 2009 and 2010. Avenatti also submitted a fictitious partnership tax return for his law firm," the investigators said. U.S. Attorney for Los Angeles Nicola Hanna said, "On his Twitter account, Mr. Avenatti describes himself as 'Attorney, Advocate, Fighter for Good.' But the allegations in this case describe something different: A corrupt lawyer who instead fights for his own selfish interests by misappropriating close to $1 million that rightfully belong to one of his clients."
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1833561
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Trump foe Michael Avenatti sought to extort $20 million from Nike: prosecutors

Postby smix » Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:27 am

Trump foe Michael Avenatti sought to extort $20 million from Nike: prosecutors
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1R622W
Category: Legal
Published: March 25, 2019

Description: NEW YORK (Reuters) - Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represented adult film star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles with U.S. President Donald Trump, was charged on Monday with what prosecutors said was an attempt to “shake down” Nike Inc for over $20 million. Avenatti, who was also hit with separate embezzlement and fraud charges in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, was arrested in New York. A federal magistrate judge ordered him released on $300,000 bond during a hearing in U.S. District Court in New York. A subdued Avenatti, appeared in the courtroom wearing a dark gray suit, sitting with federal public defenders. Prosecutors said Avenatti and another lawyer, who was not named in court papers, met with Nike’s attorneys on March 19 and told them they had a client, a former amateur coach, who had evidence Nike employees had bribed top high school players to play for Nike-sponsored college teams. The other lawyer, an unnamed co-conspirator, was identified by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, citing sources, as high-profile Los Angeles attorney and CNN contributor Mark Geragos. Geragos did not respond to a request by Reuters for comment. A spokeswoman for CNN said that Geragos was no longer with the network. According to the criminal complaint, Avenatti told Nike he would go public unless it paid his client $1.5 million and hired him and the other lawyer to conduct an internal investigation for between $15 million and $25 million. Avenatti also offered to accept a $22.5 million payment for his silence, prosecutors said. A former executive at Nike rival Adidas was recently convicted in federal court in Manhattan of participating in a similar scheme, part of a sweeping probe by prosecutors of corruption surrounding the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The case has ensnared several prominent basketball coaches. In one call, Avenatti threatened, “I’ll go take ten billion dollars off your client’s market cap ... I’m not fucking around,” according to the complaint. Geragos, who has represented celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder, is defending the actor Jussie Smollett, who is charged with falsely reporting he was the victim of a racially motivated attack in Chicago. It was not clear why Geragos has not been charged in the Nike case.
‘OLD-FASHIONED SHAKE-DOWN’
The charges came shortly after Avenatti said on Twitter he would hold a news conference on Tuesday to reveal “a major high school/college basketball scandal” reaching “the highest levels of Nike.” “A suit and tie does not mask the fact that, at its core, this was an old-fashioned shakedown,” Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, told a news conference. Nike said in a statement it “will not be extorted” and alerted investigators to Avenatti’s demands immediately. Federal prosecutors in California unveiled separate charges against Avenatti on Monday, accusing him of misusing a client’s $1.6 million settlement to pay for his own expenses as well as those for his coffee business. He was also charged with defrauding a Mississippi bank of $4.1 million in loans by submitting false tax returns for 2011-2013 that inflated his income. Avenatti faces up to 30 years in prison on the most serious charge in California and up to 20 years for the top charge in New York. He gained international notoriety for representing Daniels, the porn star whom Trump is accused of paying off during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep quiet about an alleged affair. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Daniels, 48, who is no longer represented by Avenatti, said she was “saddened but not shocked” by his arrest, adding she fired him after learning he had acted “dishonestly” with her.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1833561
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Trump Jr. mocks Avenatti after arrest: 'You might just get to share a cell with Michael Cohen!'

Postby smix » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:42 am

Trump Jr. mocks Avenatti after arrest: 'You might just get to share a cell with Michael Cohen!'
The Hill

URL: https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing ... ust-get-to
Category: Politics
Published: Mach 25, 2019

Description: Donald Trump Jr. on Monday mocked Michael Avenatti following the news that the lawyer had been arrested and charged with wire fraud and extortion. “Good news for my friend [Michael Avenatti],” President Trump's eldest son tweeted. “If you plead fast enough, you might just get to share a cell with Michael Cohen!” Trump Jr. also included the hashtag #basta, meaning “enough” or "stop" in Italian, which Avenatti has repeatedly used to promote his legal actions against President Trump. Avenatti is best known for formerly representing adult-film star Stormy Daniels in a number of lawsuits against President Trump and Cohen, the president's ex-personal lawyer. In another tweet, the president’s son added: “#MAGA — Michael Avenatti Getting Arrested!!!” Avenatti was charged Monday with extortion by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles. According to court documents, Avenatti is accused of threatening to expose damaging information about Nike unless the company paid millions to him and a client. The charges come after Avenatti announced a press conference about alleged “criminal conduct” by Nike. Cohen is headed to prison in May after pleading guilty to a number of financial crimes committed while he worked for the president, as well as lying to Congress. Trump Jr. tweeted several more times at Avenatti, and resurfaced some of the lawyer’s old comments targeting him. “Donald Trump Jr. will be indicted before his birthday on 12-31-18,” Avenatti tweeted in October. “If you doubt my prediction, please check my record over the last 7 months. #Winning.” Trump Jr. responded to that tweet on Monday: “How'd that work out for you buddy?”
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1833561
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to Legal Services


Mobile Device
  • 1
  • FREE CLASSIFIED ADS
    Free Classified Ads
    There are 3 ways to advertise - your choice: you can place free ads in a forum topic, in the classified display ads section, or you may start your own free blog. Please select the appropriate category and forum for the ad content before you post. Do not spam.
    Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. Deal at your own risk and peril.
  • Advertisement