Michael Avenatti Loses In Court

Grind for February 22nd
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The Headline

A sleazy lawyer gets what he deserves

The Grind

Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti was found guilty Friday on three charges related to his attempted extortion of sports apparel company Nike.

Avenatti, who became famous for representing Stormy Daniels in her battle against President Trump, had accused Nike of trying to corrupt college basketball and demanded the company pay him up to $25 million to conduct an investigation. Otherwise, he would expose “evidence” that Nike had bribed high school players and their families.

During the trial, it was revealed that Avenatti faced nearly $11 million in debt when he approached Nike.

“I’m not fucking around with this, and I’m not continuing to play games. And I don’t – you know, this isn’t complicated,” Avenatti said to Nike representative shortly before his arrest. “It’s worth more in exposure to me to just blow the lid on this thing. A few million dollars doesn’t move the needle for me. I’m just being really frank with you…I’ll go take $10 billion off your client’s market cap.”

The Details

Avenatti was found guilty of extortion, transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort, and wire fraud. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years, but will likely get off with far less than that. He will almost certainly be disbarred.

“While the defendant may have tried to hide behind legal terms and a suit and tie, the jury clearly saw the defendant’s scheme for what it was – an old fashioned shakedown,” said Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

In the meantime, Avenatti faces two more federal criminal cases related to accusations that he stole millions of dollars from clients, including Stormy Daniels. He is also charged with tax fraud, wire fraud, perjury, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

“Sadly, it appears what Michale Avenatti did to me was just the tip of the iceberg of deceit. I am not surprised his dishonesty has been revealed on a grand scale,” said Daniels, describing Avenatti’s behavior as “arrogant, fraudulent, and overly aggressive.”



Things You Should Know

The Headline

Car salesmen are telling buyers to stop making payments

The Grind

Let’s say you want a new car but you still owe money on your current car. In some cases, a salesman will tell you to take out a loan for the car you want to buy and allow your lender to repossess your current car.

This practice, an open secret among car salesmen, is referred to as “kicking the trade.”

The National Automobile Dealers Association denies the practice exists, but lawyers say they are seeing more cases as vehicle prices continue to escalate.

Five years ago, “it happened two or three times per year,” says Connecticut attorney Daniel Blinn. “Now, we hear it at least once per month.”

The Details

Of the nearly 24 million vehicle loans taken out in the US in 2018, roughly 300,000 of those vehicles were repossessed within one year (a 17% increase from 2014). Among buyers whose cars were repossessed, nearly 20% applied for another auto loan within the year.

Car dealerships actually make more money arranging loans than they do selling vehicles. This is because the dealership isn’t the one making the loan. On top of that, dealerships have been accused of lying about borrowers’ incomes on loan applications to banks and credit unions, thus selling expensive vehicles to people who can’t afford them.

At least one dealership in Connecticut has been shut down for providing false information about loan applicants.

To make matters worse, kicking the trade often results in more debt for the buyer and damage to their credit score. In some cases, buyers aren’t aware they still owe money on a vehicle after it is repossessed.

Moral of the story: read the fine print when you purchase a vehicle, ask questions, and don’t sign anything you don’t understand.




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