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Avenatti charged with embezzlement, fraud, cheating on taxes

Attorney Michael Avenatti has been charged in a 36-count federal indictment alleging he stole millions of dollars from clients, did not pay his taxes, committed bank fraud and lied in bankruptcy proceedings, federal prosecutors in California said Thursday.

Avenatti, 48, was indicted late Wednesday by a Southern California grand jury on a raft of additional charges following his arrest last month in New York on two related counts and for allegedly trying to shake down Nike for up to $25 million.

“These four areas of criminal conduct alleged in the indictment are all linked to one another because money generated from one set of crimes appears in other sets — typically in the form of payments to lull victims and to prevent Mr. Avenatti’s financial house of cards from collapsing,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna told reporters.

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