Crime

Lawyer and Trump critic Michael Avenatti accused of defrauding Biloxi bank

Trump critic and Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti has just been charged with federal crimes and one of them involves The People’s Bank in Biloxi.

Avenatti is facing bank fraud charges in California over $4.1 million in loans secured in 2014 from The Peoples Bank. Bank president Chevis Swetman told the Sun Herald on Monday that he wanted to review the charges before commenting.

Swetman said he could not discuss what led Avenatti to the Biloxi-based bank. The bank’s attorney, Nathan Prescott, said Avenatti repaid the loans in full.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in the California, Avenatti secured the loans by submitting false income tax returns for 2011-13, claiming millions in earnings for each of those years. The complaint says Avenatti did not file income tax returns from 2011-13.

The complaint lists the loans Avenatti companies allegedly received:

$850,500 in January 2014.

$2.75 million in March 2014.

$500,000 in December 2014.

The complaint also charges Avenatti with wire fraud, saying he embezzled a client’s money to pay expenses and debt.

Avenatti was simultaneously charged in New York with extortion. Federal prosecutors contend he threatened to release embarrassing information about Nike unless the athletic company paid him and a client at least $22.5 million.

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