connectVideoMichael Avenatti accused of stealing nearly $2 million of NBA player’s ex-girlfriend, faces up to criminal prosecution
According to researchers, Avenatti reached a multi-million dollar settlement deal with Hassan Whiteside, but only gave his client $194,000 spent the rest on a private jet; reaction of the former federal prosecutor Alex Little.
As legal problems mount for high-profile lawyer Michael Avenatti, a former federal prosecutor Monday compared him to a “Disney villain” and said Avenatti may have found a battle that’s too big, even for him.
Avenatti is accused of embezzling nearly $2 million from the former girlfriend of Hassan Whiteside, a center for the NBA Miami Heat.
Avenatti negotiated a $3 million deal for Alexis Gardner, 27.
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Hassan then wired $2.75 million to a trust account set up by Avenatti in January 2017, according to the bank records, and a Apr. 10 indictment by a California-based grand jury, the Washington post reported.
Avenatti was to receive $1 million in legal fees, but reportedly led to $2.5 million of the wired payment in the direction of the purchase of a private jet.
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“Federal prosecutors, not the wrong papers. If they are $2 million, they will know. Easy to trace. These cases are difficult to argue your way out. He likes to fight. He may have found a battle that is too big for him,” former federal prosecutor Alex Little said on “Shepard Smith Reporting.”
Shepard Smith asked about a possible motivation for committing such a crime.
“This is about greed. Most of these crimes are about greed or addiction. We know nothing about whether or not he has a kind of addiction. But if you don’t have that you kind of point out, this is the man who wanted to spend a lot of money, Little said.
He also said Avenatti “tried to bring in money. When there is not enough, he cut down and stolen.”
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Avenatti, the former attorney for the adult-film star Stormy Daniels, is facing up to 335 years in prison after he was slapped with three dozen federal charges earlier this month claimed he had stolen millions of dollars from his clients not to pay taxes and lied in bankruptcy cases, among other allegations through a Southern California grand jury.
Last month in New York, Avenatti was arrested for allegedly trying to shake down Nike for up to $25 million.
Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.