Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in prison, ordered to pay $11 million
Suspended attorney Michael Avenatti was sentenced on Monday to 14 years in federal prison for defrauding his clients out of millions of dollars and for obstructing the IRS, the office of the U.S. attorney for Los Angeles said.
Avenatti, who pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and a count of obstruction this summer, was also ordered to pay nearly $11 million back to four of his clients and the IRS.
The Department of Justice said Monday that Avenatti blocked the IRS from collecting more than $3 million in payroll taxes from a coffee business he owned and used the money stolen from his clients to fund a lavish lifestyle.
“Michael Avenatti was a corrupt lawyer who claimed he was fighting for the little guy. In fact, he only cared about his own selfish interests. He stole millions of dollars from his clients – all to finance his extravagant lifestyle that included a private jet and race cars,” U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Martin Estrada said in a statement.
Avenatti is set to serve the 14-year sentence, which Estrada said was “richly deserved,” after completing five years’ worth of sentencing handed down to him after convictions in the Southern District of New York.
United States District Judge James V. Selna said Monday that Avenatti “has done great evil for which he must answer.”
The disgraced attorney surged into the spotlight when he represented Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress, in her defamation case against former President Trump.