By Victor Garcia
Published April 22, 2019
As legal troubles mount for high-profile attorney Michael Avenatti, a former federal prosecutor Monday compared him to a "Disney villain" and said Avenatti may have found a fight that's too big, even for him.
Avenatti is accused of embezzling almost $2 million from the former girlfriend of Hassan Whiteside, a center for the NBA's Miami Heat.
Avenatti negotiated a $3 million deal for Alexis Gardner, 27.
Hassan then wired $2.75 million to a trust account set up by Avenatti in January 2017 according to bank records and an Apr. 10 indictment by a California-based grand jury, the Washington Examiner reported.
Avenatti was to receive $1 million in legal fees but allegedly funneled $2.5 million of the wired payment toward purchasing a private jet.
"Federal prosecutors don't get the papers wrong. If she got $2 million, she will know about it. Easy to trace. These cases are difficult to argue your way out of. He likes to fight. He may have found a fight that's too big for him," former federal prosecutor Alex Little said on "Shepard Smith Reporting."
Shepard Smith asked Little about a possible motivation for committing such a crime.
"This is about greed. Most of these crimes are about greed or addiction. We don't know anything about whether or not he's got some addiction. But if you don't have that, you kind of point to, this is the guy that wanted to spend a lot of money," Little said.
He also said Avenatti "was trying to bring in money. When there wasn't enough, he cut corners and stole it."
Avenatti, the former attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, is facing up to 335 years in prison after he was slapped with three dozen federal charges earlier this month alleging he stole millions of dollars from his clients, failed to pay taxes and lied in bankruptcy cases, among other accusations by a Southern California grand jury.
Last month in New York, Avenatti was arrested for allegedly trying to shake down Nike for up to $25 million.
Fox News' Greg Norman contributed to this report.