Avenatti to plead guilty to dozens of charges of defrauding clients

Disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti, among the loudest voices of opposition against former President Donald Trump who had vowed to see Trump imprisoned, is himself currently serving time in federal custody.

Avenatti could soon be facing even more time behind bars after he announced his intent to plead guilty to dozens of charges related to his fraudulent theft of funds from his own clients, the Washington Examiner reported.

The currently suspended California lawyer, who rose to national prominence representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against Trump, faces 36 federal counts of a variety of financial crimes that stem from a fraudulent scheme he perpetrated to steal nearly $10 million in settlement money he had won for other clients.

Now pleads guilty

According to a court filing submitted Sunday by Avenatti’s attorney, he intends to change his initial plea of not guilty to one guilty of the charges against him and request sentencing. The filing further claimed that he had made multiple attempts to reach a plea deal with prosecutors but had been unsuccessful in that effort.

A footnote of the filing said, “Despite repeated efforts over the last year by Mr. Avenatti and his counsel, including substantial efforts made in the last 30 days, defendant has been unable to reach a plea agreement with the government.”

“Mr. Avenatti wishes to plea in order to be accountable; accept responsibility; avoid his former clients being further burdened; save the Court and the government significant resources; and save his family further embarrassment,” the footnote added.

Defrauding his clients and a bank

The Hill reported that the charges to which Avenatti now intends to plead guilty are related to allegations that he defrauded at least five former clients of nearly $10 million combined of settlement funds that were due to them between 2015 and 2019.

The charges also include allegations that he defrauded a bank with phony tax records for the purpose of obtaining a loan, and if convicted, he could face decades of additional prison time.

This is actually the second time that Avenatti has faced these charges as the first effort by the government ended in a mistrial last year after federal prosecutors had failed to relay relevant financial information to the defendant’s attorney.

CNN reported that the scheme involved Avenatti having settlement funds he won for clients, including a paraplegic victim, funneled through his own personal accounts first and then lying to the clients that the funds hadn’t yet been received while he actually misappropriated those funds for his own purposes.

Already a convict serving time

Avenatti is already serving time in prison after he was previously convicted of two other unrelated crimes for which he was found guilty, including a four-year sentence handed down just last month for his conviction for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars due to Daniels.

He is also currently serving a 2.5-year sentence for a failed extortion scheme against Nike in which he demanded the company pay him $25 million or he would spread negative information about the business in the media.

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