Prosecutors say Michael Avenatti should get 17 years in prison for fraud scheme

LOS ANGELES — Convicted criminal and disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti should serve 17½ years in prison after he pleaded guilty to bank fraud and tax offenses in California this year, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

The recommendation was included in a 303-page sentencing memo filed by the U.S. attorney's office for Central California.

The sentence would run consecutively with a four-year sentence handed down in a separate case in New York involving former adult film actor Stormy Daniels.

Avenatti, who once represented Daniels, was found guilty in February of stealing $300,000 of the $800,000 advance Daniels was paid for her book “Full Disclosure,” which included details about an affair she says she had with Donald Trump before he was president.

In the California case, Avenatti admitted pocketing millions of dollars that belonged to clients and lying to them about it, prosecutors said when he pleaded guilty in June.

As the owner of Global Baristas US LLC, which operated Tully’s Coffee, Avenatti admitted to keeping $5 million in payroll taxes.

A sentencing memo filed by a lawyer for Avenatti asked for a maximum prison term of three years followed by three years of supervised release.

The memo acknowledged that Avenatti impeded the IRS and “misappropriated monies due four of his legal clients, misled them repeatedly, and violated their trust.” But Avenatti should be “treated and sentenced based on his life as a whole across the last 51 years, not his notoriety,” the filing added.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 7.

In a separate case, Avenatti was convicted in February 2020 of extortion and other crimes after he threatened to ruin Nike’s reputation unless it agreed to pay him and his client millions of dollars. He was sentenced to 2½ years in prison.

Andrew Blankstein reported from Los Angeles and Tim Stelloh from Alameda, California.

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