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Michael Avenatti arrested after alleged attempt to extort Nike

Michael Avenatti has become a familiar name throughout North Carolina for his representation of an adult entertainment actress in a legal battle with President Donald Trump. The latest headlines about the high-profile lawyer, however, concern his arrest for an alleged attempt to extort close to $20 million from the athletic apparel company Nike. Additionally, a separate federal case involves allegations of wire and bank fraud.

The criminal complaint involving the Nike incident claims that he threatened to embarrass the company by exposing allegations of illegal payments to the families of top high school athletes from Nike employees. Recordings of conversations between Avenatti and Nike executives allegedly reveal his demands for money in exchange for silence. Nike informed federal authorities, who arrested him within days of his initial communications with the company. He has paid a $300,000 bond to get out of jail and has surrendered his passport. Avenatti insists that he will fight to prove his innocence.

The other criminal case against him resulted in charges of wire fraud for using the $1.6 million settlement that he secured for a client to pay business expenses and personal bills. Additionally, a bank fraud charge has emerged from evidence that appears to indicate that he obtained $4 million in bank loans after making fake tax returns that inflated his income.

Financial misconduct often falls under the purview of federal law. A person accused of white-collar crimes like embezzlement or fraud might want to meet as soon as possible with an experienced attorney so that a strategy to counter the allegations can be constructed.

Source: CBS News, "Michael Avenatti arrested on federal charges of wire fraud and extortion", Stefan Becket, March 26, 2019


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