Michael Avenatti, the larger-than-life attorney who fell from grace nearly as quickly as he rose to national prominence for representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her suit against former President Donald Trump, was sentenced Monday to 14 years in federal prison for stealing millions of dollars from his clients.
He was also ordered to pay more than $7 million to his four victims, one of whom is a paraplegic man. Avenatti, 51, pleaded guilty six months ago to four counts of wire fraud and one count of endeavoring to obstruct the administration of the Internal Revenue Code.
In relation to the latter charge, Avenatti was ordered Monday to fork over an additional $3.2 million to the federal government. The amount matches the sum prosecutors accused him of stealing in federal payroll taxes, collected from the employees of his now-defunct Seattle coffee business but never passed along to the IRS, a fraud that prosecutors called "massive."
In his sentencing remarks Monday, U.S. District Judge James V. Selna said that though Avenatti had done "good things in his life," he had "also done great evil," according to the Los Angeles Times.
Avenatti will begin his sentence once he completes a five-year sentence he's serving in a Southern California prison over his convictions in two other cases.
Last July, he was sentenced to 30 months behind bars for attempting to extort Nike out of up to $25 million. In February this year, he was convicted of charges that he stole nearly $300,000 that belonged to Daniels for her book, Full Disclosure. After a jury found him guilty of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, he was sentenced to what functioned as an additional 48 months in prison.
The 14-year sentence is slightly less than the term of 17 years and six months that prosecutors requested. Avenatti's deception was both "cruel" and "callous," they wrote in a memo to Selna, and "was motivated solely by arrogance and greed."
The brash 51-year-old, who represented himself in court (despite no longer being allowed to practice law in California), asked Selna to give him with no more than six years, to run concurrently with his earlier sentence.
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