Federal authorities announced Monday lawyer Michael Avenatti is facing charges in separate coast-to-coast extortion and fraud schemes.
Avenatti was arrested in Manhattan on charges that he tried to extort Nike for $20 million "by threatening to use his ability to garner publicity to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if his demands were not met."
“I’ll go take $10 billion off your client’s market cap … I’m not f–king around,” court papers say he told Nike lawyers during a conference call Wednesday, the New York Post reports.
Avenatti met with the sport's apparel company's lawyers the day before the conversation and reportedly "threatened to release damaging information" if the company didn't pay off Avenatti and an unidentified co-conspirator.
The charges against Avenatti were revealed shortly after he tweeted about the press conference.
Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman is scheduled to discuss the case against Avenatti at a 2:30 p.m. news conference Monday.
Prosecutors in California allege that Avenatti stole a client's $1.6 million settlement and spent the cash on personal expenses and debts, and to run his law firm and former coffee business, Tully's Coffee.
Feds said that Avenatti still owes the IRS more than $850,000 in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest for 2009 and 2010. He is also accused of defrauding a bank in Mississippi by using fake tax returns to borrow $4.1 million, even though he never filed personal tax returns for 2011, 2012 and 2013.
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