Attorney Michael Avenatti Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges for Bilking Clients

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Newport Beach attorney Michael Avenatti, who was already convicted in New York of bilking funds from former client and adult film actress Stormy Daniels, pleaded guilty Thursday in an Orange County federal courtroom to multiple fraud charges.

Avenatti pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and a single count of tax fraud, admitting he misappropriated funds from four clients.

He made an open plea to the court, meaning there was no agreement with prosecutors on a possible sentence. The charges potentially carry dozens of years in federal prison and restitution topping $10 million, but it will be up to U.S. District Judge James Selna to determine the appropriate sentence. Avenatti said in court he expects the actual sentences to be far less than the maximum, although Selna will have the final say.

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