Michael Avenatti Allegedly Embezzled $2.5 Million In A Hassan Whiteside Settlement
In new reports, Michael Avenatti has now been charged with embezzling $2.5 million in a payment that Hassan Whiteside, a payment meant for Whiteside’s ex in a settlement agreement, was wired to him by the Miami Heat.
Alexis Gardner, an actress and barista, hired Avenatti before a prospective lawsuit against Whiteside to seek a financial settlement. The cause of the dispute is unknown, but in the first payment in January 2017, Avenatti was able to reach a $3 million deal with Whiteside delivering $2.75 million.
Prosecutors say Avenatti would be charging $ 1 million in legal fees and providing Gardner with the remaining balance. However, according to the Los Angeles Times, Avenatti pocketed $ .5 million, putting the money into a private jet.
The embezzlement was brought to light this month by a federal grand jury in Santa Ana through bank records and the celebrity lawyer’s accusation. The indictment covers 36 counts and identifies Whiteside and Gardner respectively as “Individual 1” and “Individual 2.” “We entered into a mutually agreed settlement more than two years ago after our relationship ended; a settlement that reflected Alexis ‘ investment of time and supports over a number of years as Hassan pursued a career in the NBA,” said Whiteside and Gardner in a joint statement to the Los Angeles Times.
“It is unfortunate that something is now being reported publicly that was meant to be kept private between us. We both moved on friendly and wished each other nothing but the best.