Michael Avenatti has now been accused of embezzling almost $2 million after he struck a settlement for former girlfriend of NBA player Hassan Whiteside.
Avenatti, as the attorney for former girlfriend of NBA player Hassan Whiteside, Alexis Gardner negotiated a $3 million deal for the actress and barista, $2.75 million of which Miami Heat player Hassan Whiteside, wired to a trust account set up by Michael Avenatti back in January of 2017, according to bank records and an Apr. 10 indictment by a California-based grand jury.
Avenatti was entitled to $1 million in legal fees, but he did not tell Gardner about the payment and misrepresented the terms of her agreement with the Miami Heat player, Prosecutors said in the indictment.
Instead, Avenatti funneled $2.5 million into the bank account of a law firm owned by an associate so he could buy himself a share of a small private jet.
Avenatti told Gardner that Hassan Whiteside’s first payment was for legal fees, but that she would receive monthly installments over the next eight years.
However, Avenatti only made 11 transfers to Gardner, totaling $194,000, before the money ceased in June 2018.
Although Whiteside and Gardner confirmed the settlement in a statement, Avenatti as always denied he acted illegally or inappropriately.
The 36-count grand jury indictment refers to four other clients from which Avenatti stole millions of dollars, including mentally ill, paraplegic Geoffrey Ernest Johnson and YouTube makeup artist Michelle Phan. He has also been charged tax, bank, and bankruptcy fraud, as well as perjury. He additionally faces a federal extortion and conspiracy case in New York over his dealings with Nike.
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