Michael Avenatti faces 36-count federal indictment

Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti arrives for his first hearing in Santa Ana federal court on bank and wire fraud charges

Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti, who is already accused of federal financial crimes, has been indicted for 36 counts of embezzlement and fraud by a California federal grand jury, US prosecutors announced Thursday.

Avenatti already is facing charges in NY related to an alleged scheme to extort Nike, but he also was arrested in Los Angeles last month on claims that he stole money from a client and used bogus tax returns to secure loans.

The indictment came about three weeks after Avenatti, who gained national fame for representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her litigation against Trump, was arrested in NY on two separate criminal complaints filed by federal prosecutors in NY and California.

"I look forward to the entire truth being known as opposed to a one-sided version meant to sideline me", he wrote.

He was also charged with 19 tax counts, including lying to an Internal Revenue Service officer, not paying personal income taxes since 2010, failing to pay taxes for his businesses, including two law firms, and pocketing payroll taxes from the Tully's Coffee chain that he owned, the indictment said. Avenatti is accused of having the money wired to him and hiding it from the victim for years.

The indictment appears to pertain to another case, but federal officials are scheduled to provide further details at an afternoon news conference, the AP reported, citing a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

He allegedly stole millions from one client to purchase a private jet, according to the indictment, which is included in full at the bottom of this article.

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Prosecutors also accuse Avenatti of filing fraudulent applications to a bank in MS, to obtain $4.1 million in loans and making false statements when his firm was facing bankruptcy proceedings. Avenatti has said he expects to be cleared. In a press conference, Hanna confirmed that the jet was seized by federal authorities on Wednesday.

According to the indictment, Avenatti embezzled money from five of his clients and shuffled the money to cover up the theft.

One of the clients, Geoffrey Ernest Johnson, was a mentally ill paraplegic on disability who won a $4-million settlement of a suit against Los Angeles County.

Adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, speaks to media alongside Avenatti, her lawyer, outside a federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City on April 16, 2018. The money was wired to Avenatti in January 2015, but he hid it from Johnson for years, according to the indictment.

Two years after the settlement was reached, Avenatti allegedly helped Johnson find a real estate agent to buy a house.

After Avenatti was questioned about the alleged embezzlement during a judgment-debtor examination in federal court March 22, the indictment said he fabricated a defense for himself.

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