MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Embattled attorney Michael Avenatti is now accused of embezzling nearly $2 million intended for the former girlfriend of the Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside, according to a federal indictment.
Prosecutors claim Avenatti stole the money two years ago after Whiteside’s ex girlfriend Alexis Gardner, settled for $3 million ahead of a potential lawsuit following the end of their relationship.
Avenatti was Gardener’s attorney.
It’s not known what the lawsuit was about but when it was settled, Whiteside wired $2.75 million to Avenatti in January 2017.
Avenatti, prosecutors say, was entitled to take just over $1 million in legal fees, leaving the rest for Gardner.
Instead, they allege, Avenatti hid the money from her and used $2.5 million to buy a private jet.
This accusation is but part of a 36-count indictment accusing Avenatti of embezzlement, wire fraud, tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud and bank fraud connected to his alleged theft of tens of millions of dollars from five clients.
Avenatti will be arraigned April 29, according to the online court docket.
Avenatti became a household name during his representation of adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, who had an alleged affair with President Donald Trump.
In a separate federal case in New York, Avenatti is accused of extortion and conspiracy in his alleged shakedown of Nike, the sportswear giant.
If convicted on all charges , he faces a maximum penalty of 382 years in prison.
Avenatti denies wrongdoing.