Former celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in prison for defrauding clients, tax fraud

SANTA ANA, California– Former prominent attorney Michael Avenatti, who rose to fame as representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison in Orange County for tax and wire fraud.

US District Judge James Selna said Avenatti’s sentence will be consecutive — or in addition to the five years — he’s already serving on convictions in New York for a racketeering plot against Nike and for stealing from Daniels. He has been in prison since February.

Avenatti, 51, was convicted Monday of “frauding his customers and obstructing IRS efforts to collect payroll taxes from his coffee business,” the US Attorney for the Central District of California said on Twitter. He was ordered to pay nearly $11 million to four clients and the IRS after pleading guilty to four counts of wire fraud and one count of tax fraud in June.

Federal prosecutors in Santa Ana had asked Selna to serve a 17-1/2 year sentence, while Avenatti pleaded for only six years. Prosecutors presented in court the lavish lifestyle Avenatti led with the stolen cash, including buying a private jet and sports cars, as the customers he robbed struggled to make ends meet.

Geoffrey Johnson was one of two victims who testified in court.

SEE MORE: Michael Avenatti sentenced to 4 years in prison for stealing nearly $300,000 from Stormy Daniels

“I’ve learned not to trust people more than they deserve,” he said.

In his khaki prison uniform, the once-proud lawyer broke down in tears and pleaded for clemency in federal court – just before he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

In their sentencing recommendation, federal prosecutors said Avenatti’s plans followed a “general pattern” in which he “lied about the true terms of the settlement agreement he negotiated for the client, withheld and surreptitiously the settlement payments made by the counterparty.” would accept to spend the settlement proceeds that belonged to the customer and persuade the customer not to complain or investigate further by making small advances on the monies allegedly remaining to be paid.”

Prosecutors called Avenatti a “tax dodger,” citing his failure to pay payroll taxes after his company acquired Tully’s Coffee in bankruptcy and then obstructed the IRS when the agency tried to collect the amount owed.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. Former celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in prison for defrauding clients, tax fraud

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