USA v. Michael J. Avenatti

Analysis Group was retained by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for the criminal wire fraud portion of litigation brought in the US District Court for the Central District of California against former attorney Michael Avenatti. The DOJ alleged Mr. Avenatti stole millions of dollars from his former clients’ settlement funds between 2015 and 2019 to clear his personal debts, support his coffee business, and purchase high-end luxury items.

An Analysis Group team led by Managing Principal Christopher Borek and Vice President Evan Carter provided research and analytical support to Vice President John Drum, who testified at trial regarding the flows of settlement funds belonging to Mr. Avenatti's ex-clients. Mr. Drum’s testimony showed that Mr. Avenatti appropriated funds from settlement money being held in trust accounts for individual clients to use for his own personal gain. While Mr. Avenatti distributed small payments to clients over many years, Mr. Drum demonstrated these payments amounted to only a fraction of the total due to each client and that the payments did not always originate from the appropriate trust accounts.

Following a prolonged, bifurcated trial in the US District Court for the Central District of California that considered wire fraud charges as well as tax fraud charges related to Mr. Avenatti’s coffee business, Mr. Avenatti pled guilty to four counts of wire fraud and one count of tax fraud. He was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $7.6 million in restitution to his victims and $3.2 million to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Testifying Experts

Associated Experts & Consultants