U.S.

Michael Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in prison for cheating clients out of millions

Michael Avenatti was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Monday for cheating four former clients out of millions of dollars and trying to obstruct the IRS from collecting payroll taxes from a coffee shop that he owned. 

It caps off a stunning fall from grace for the former attorney, who is already serving five years in prison for stealing book proceeds from porn actress Stormy Daniels and trying to extort Nike out of $25 million. 

The 14-year sentence handed down on Monday will run consecutively to the five years that he is already serving in previous cases, U.S. District Judge James V. Selna ruled. 

Michael Avenatti speaks to members of the media after leaving federal court on Feb. 4, 2022, in New York.
(G3 Box News Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Avenatti, who addressed his victims in court on Monday, was also ordered to pay $7 million in restitution. 

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“I am deeply remorseful and contrite,” Avenatti said in court before the sentencing. “There is no doubt that all of them deserve much better, and I hope that someday they will accept my apologies and find it in their heart to forgive me.”

Prosecutors laid out in a 36-count indictment how Avenatti collected a $4 million settlement from Los Angeles County for a man who was paralyzed from injuries he sustained while in custody of law enforcement. Avenatti used the funds for his coffee business and personal expenses, paying the man “advances” of no more than $1,900 at a time. 

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Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, left, stands with her former lawyer Michael Avenatti during a news conference.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, left, stands with her former lawyer Michael Avenatti during a news conference.
(G3 Box News Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Avenatti obtained a $3 million settlement for another client in early 2017 and used most of the money for a private jet, then lied to the client by saying the settlement would be paid out in monthly payments over several years. 

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Prosecutors also said that Avenatti stole from clients whom he represented in an intellectual property claim and another business dispute. 

For the tax fraud charge, Avenatti failed to pay more than $3 million in payroll taxes related to his coffee business then tried to stop the IRS from collecting the unpaid taxes. 

Michael Avenatti speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. 

Michael Avenatti speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. 
(Chris Zoeller/Globe-Gazette via G3 Box News)

Prosecutor Brett Sagel characterized Avenatti as a serial fraudster. 

“He didn’t turn to his criminal actions by desperation, by need, by the inability to do anything else,” Sagel told the court. “Despite the significant advantages that this defendant had — a first-rate education, a thriving legal career — he chose to commit the deplorable acts in this case time and time again.”

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Prosecutors agreed to drop remaining charges after Avenatti pleaded guilty to five counts earlier this year. 

The G3 Box News contributed to this report. 



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