Florida Connection: Attorney Avenatti Accused of Swindling Heat Star

Federal prosecutors say that notorious lawyer Michael Avenatti embezzled nearly $3 million from the former girlfriend of Miami Heat start Hassan Whiteside.

Avenatti was retained by Alexis Gardner to negotiate a settlement for an undisclosed dispute with Whiteside who agreed to pay her $3 million starting with a $2.75 million wire transfer.

Avenatti would have been entitled to $1 million for his services but prosecutors contend he took $2.5 million of the sum slated for Gardner and used it to buy a share of a private jet.

According to Whiteside’s agent the matter between himself and Gardner was intended to be settled amicably and privately and said it was ‘unfortunate’ that it had become public knowledge.

Michael Avenatti, the former attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels, stands accused of embezzling money from 4 other former clients including a mentally ill paraplegic who only received a fraction of what he was awarded in a settlement.

He is also charged with bank fraud, tax evasion, and in New York, the attempted extortion of sneaker maker Nike.