The charges came down earlier this morning by a federal grand jury in California, which accuse him of stealing millions of dollars from his clients, one of whom is a mentally ill paraplegic.
Avenatti, 48, was indicted late Wednesday by a Southern California grand jury on a raft of additional charges following his arrest last month in NY on two related counts and for allegedly trying to shake down Nike for up to $25 million.
Avenatti, 48, has said he planned to fight all the charges and plead not guilty.
He added later: "Any claim that any monies due clients were mishandled is bogus nonsense".
Michael Avenatti, the silver-tongued attorney who until last month represented adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuits against President Donald Trump, faces 36-count federal indictment on charges including wire fraud, perjury, failure to pay taxes and embezzlement.
"Money generated from one set of crimes was used to further other crimes", U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said at a news conference.
He also tweeted a signed statement from Geoffrey Johnson praising Avenatti for advocating for him. She sued the president over a nondisclosure agreement that in the weeks before the 2016 US presidential election kept her from discussing her claims that she and Trump had an extramarital affair 10 years earlier.
Officials say a private jet co-owned by Avenatti was seized Wednesday as part of the ongoing investigation.
One of the clients included a man who won a $4 million settlement in 2015 from Los Angeles County after he became paraplegic in an unspecified incident, prosecutors said.
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According to the indictment, Avenatti illegally siphoned money from his clients to pay for his own expenses.
When the IRS later put tax levies on coffee company bank accounts to collect more than $5 million, Avenatti had Tully's employees deposit cash receipts in a little-known account for his auto racing team, authorities said.
The IRS reportedly began investigating Avenatti more than a year ago, though it's also been noted that that attorney "began to run afoul of the IRS nearly a decade ago" by failing to file income tax returns.
Hanna also said Avenatti submitted "clearly fake" income tax form to receive a loan.
The maximum possible punishment for these alleged offenses upon conviction, the report said, is 335 years in prison. On the same day, prosecutors in NY accused him of trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike Inc.
As they say, a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich, so Avenatti still has the opportunity to tell his side of the story to a jury.
FILE PHOTO: Lawyer Michael Avenatti in New York, New York, U.S., March 25, 2019.
In another instance, Avenatti allegedly used $2.5 million from a client's settlement payment to purchase a private plane, the title of which was held through an Avenatti-controlled LLC called Passport 420.