Tuesday night we covered the breaking story that Creepy Porn Lawyer Michael Avenatti was arrested during a break in his California State Bar disbarment proceedings in Los Angeles by federal agents, and that he was alleged to have violated the terms of pre-trial release. Avenatti appeared Wednesday in federal court in Santa Ana, and Judge James V. Selna agreed that it appeared he had violated the terms and ordered him held without bail pending trial on three indictments.
It seems Avenatti has not learned any lessons since being indicted on fraud, extortion, embezzlement, tax evasion, and other financial charges. Five weeks after his arrest, he received $1 million in legal fees from a client’s settlement. Authorities say he “shift[ed] it through multiple bank accounts and use[d] cashier’s checks to spend it.” Here’s how they say it was spent:
Avenatti used the money to cover rent on his luxury apartment in Century City, pay his legal bills and buy a $50,000 Mercedes-Benz, according to the court documents.
Avenatti initially tried to buy the car in his own name but then worked with his first ex-wife, Christine Avenatti Carlin, to put it in her name instead, prosecutors allege. He drew from the $1 million to pay his personal driver, James Cameron, they said.
Is your blood boiling yet? If it wasn’t enough that he used money that wasn’t his to pay cash for a Mercedes-Benz, read on.
Avenatti also used the money to pay membership fees to Exclusive Resorts, an elite vacation club with luxury properties in Florida, New York and California, where Avenatti stayed at least four times while awaiting trial, prosecutors allege. He allowed a girlfriend to stay at an Exclusive Resorts property in Tuscany, Italy, they said.
Prosecutors noted that Avenatti had an Italian passport when he was arrested last year and said his girlfriend’s trip to Tuscany raised questions about whether Avenatti had hidden assets in Europe.
At the time he spent all of this money, he knew he owed more than that amount to creditors and was derelict in his child support and alimony obligations to his second ex-wife, Lisa Avenatti Storie. But hey, it’s important for an international playboy such as Michael Avenatti to have an “Exclusive Resort” at which to hole up his future ex-wife.
Who cares that said playboy’s children might not have the funds to which they’re entitled? At the top of that list would be their father.
Avenatti’s bail was conditioned upon him not violating any federal, state, or local laws. Prosecutors allege that by hiding these funds Avenatti broke federal wire and mail fraud laws. He is scheduled to stand trial in New York next week on charges he attempted to extort $20 million from Nike.
Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person.