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US lawyer Avenatti indicted on theft, fraud, other charges

AFP  |  Los Angeles 

Michael Avenatti, the who represented porn star in her legal battle with US Donald Trump, has been indicted on charges of theft, fraud and tax evasion, authorities said Thursday.

Prosecutors say Avenatti stole millions of dollars from his own clients and kept millions of dollars in employment taxes that his coffee company should have paid to the

The 36-count indictment by a federal grand jury exposes Avenatti to up to 333 years behind bars if convicted, Nick Hanna, US for the Central District of California, said.

"In the event of his conviction, we seek to have proceeds of Mr. Avenatti's fraudulent conduct forfeited to the government. Authorities seized a USD 5 million jet that Mr Avenatti co-owned, a purchase he made from money allegedly stolen from a client," Hanna told a briefing.

The charges he faces include tax fraud, and bankruptcy fraud.

"The financial investigation conducted by the IRS details a man who allegedly failed to meet his obligations to the government, stole from his clients, and used his ill-gotten gains to support his racing team, the ownership of shops, and a private jet," said IRS in Charge Ryan Korner.

Avenatti, who has been released on a USD 300,000 bond, is to be arraigned April 29 in District Court in Santa Ana,

Avenatti faces charges in a separate case in involving the sports

According to that complaint, the celebrity devised a scheme to extort millions of dollars from by threatening to damage the company's reputation right before its quarterly earnings report and the start of men's basketball tournament.

Avenatti, who at one point entertained the possibility of running for president, rose to fame after representing Daniels in her legal battles with Trump over hush money she received for an affair she allegedly had with Trump in 2006.

He no longer represents Daniels.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, April 11 2019. 23:00 IST