Daily Beast

January 22, 2019 - A former client of Michael Avenatti alleges the celebrity lawyer secretly pocketed his money after helping him secure a settlement, then tried to lend him back some of the funds with 10 percent interest. That client, Gregory Barela, made the allegations in a statement of claims filed with Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS), a private arbitration organization. Barela’s lawyer provided the claim, which is not public, to The Daily Beast.

“Mr. Barela hired our firm to investigate what happened to the settlement payment that he was supposed to have received early last year,” Steven Bledsoe, a lawyer with Larson O’Brien LLP representing Barela, told The Daily Beast. “As part of our investigation, we contacted the lawyer for the settling party and he gave us a copy of the unaltered settlement agreement and the wire-transfer confirmation showing that his client made the settlement payment to the bank account specified by Mr. Avenatti five days before it was due.”

Read the full article: https://www.thedailybeast.com/former-client-accuses-michael-avenatti-of-operating-law-firm-like-a-ponzi-scheme