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Nov 24, 2022

Monday, Dec 05, 2022 - 23:27:19

Who is Curtis Warren?

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AFTER 14 years in prison, notorious criminal Curtis Warren has been freed and is back in Liverpool.

The drug smuggler became the first gangster to be featured in the Sunday Times Rich List, reportedly earning upwards of £15m a week.

1Curtis Warren was released from prison on November 21, 2022Credit: PA Who is Curtis Warren?

Curtis Francis Warren was born on May 31, 1963, in Toxteth, Liverpool.

Warren, known by the nickname Cocky Watchman, dropped out of school when he was 12 and launched his criminal career by being caught by the police driving a stolen car.

By the time he was 15, in 1978, he'd been sentenced to three months in a detention centre, and at 18 was sent to borstal for assaulting police officers.

In 1981 he was sentenced to two years in jail for attacking a prostitute and her client.

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On his release, Warren transformed himself into a bouncer at a nightclub in Liverpool.

But by the time he was 22, Warren was reported to be selling cannabis and ecstasy.

According to a BBC podcast, Warren sailed to Venezuela in 1991 with yacht owner Brian Charrington. 

There they were behind the importation of cocaine sealed inside lead ingots, the podcast claims.

What is Curtis Warren's net worth?

Warren is the only drug dealer to ever make it on to the Sunday Times Rich List.

At the time he was listed as a property developer with £40million.

He once had an estimated fortune of £ 200million.

However, when he was sentenced in 2009, a forensic accounting investigation only found £20million of his estimated £200million fortune.

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Warren was jailed in the Netherlands in the 1990s after the police raided his villa and found a huge haul of drugs and weapons.

He was convicted of manslaughter following a prison yard fight with a Turkish inmate.

After his release in 2009, he was arrested in Jersey for plotting to smuggle £ 1million worth of cannabis on to the island.

He was jailed again and in 2013 given an extra 10 years after failing to abide by a £198million confiscation order.

The Jersey Police had been investigating his wealth, with the aim of confiscating his gains from drug trafficking.

Warren was held at La Moye prison in Jersey, before being moved to a high-security prison in Worcestershire, believed to be HMP Long Lartin. 

Where is Curtis Warren now?

On November 21, 2022, Warren was released from prison and is believed to be back in Liverpool.

He is now subject to a strict raft of restrictions which include a ban from WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, being in the possession of more than £1,000 in cash, and a travel ban outside of England and Wales without giving a seven-day notice to the police.

If he fails to comply with these measures it could see him back in prison for up to five years.

An NCA spokesman said: "Action against serious and organised criminals doesn't end with a conviction.

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"Many serious offenders have had lifelong criminal careers and are likely to re-offend.

"These restrictions protect the public but will have little impact upon those who are genuinely reformed.”

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Michael Avenatti facing more prison time for stealing millions of dollars from clients

Michael Avenatti, the once swaggering celebrity lawyer who was undone by his proclivity for embezzlement and fraud, faces a potentially long prison term when he is sentenced Monday for dodging taxes and stealing millions of dollars from clients.

His sentencing by U.S. District Judge James V. Selna in Santa Ana is likely to conclude the last of three federal prosecutions of the former attorney, who gained notoriety for representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles against former President Trump.

Avenatti, 51, is already serving five years in prison for his extortion and fraud convictions at two trials in New York. Federal prosecutors in California have asked Selna to order Avenatti locked up for an additional 17 years and six months.

Avenatti pleaded guilty in June to four counts of wire fraud for stealing money from clients and one count of obstructing collection of federal payroll taxes from his Seattle coffee business, now defunct.

One of the law clients he robbed, Geoffrey Ernest Johnson, was a mentally ill paraplegic on disability.

“To this day, I do not know why Michael lied and deceived me, why he broke my trust, why he broke my heart,” Johnson wrote in a statement to the court.

Johnson won a $4-million settlement of a suit against Los Angeles County. The money was wired in January 2015 to Avenatti, who kept the bulk of it and lied to Johnson about it.

“I trusted him implicitly, I believed the things he told me, but it was all part of his plan to defraud me of my settlement,” Johnson wrote. “To this day, I have a hard time trusting people because of what Michael did, and I live in constant fear of being taken advantage of again, particularly given my physical disability.”

Michael Avenatti promotes his defunct coffee business on his auto racing outfit.(Hoch Zwei/Getty Images)

Avenatti also admitted stealing from a $2.75-million settlement that his client Alexis Gardner obtained from her former boyfriend Hassan Whiteside, a pro basketball player then with the Miami Heat. Avenatti used most of the money to buy a private jet.

Selna has approved the government’s request to confiscate the eight-seat Honda HA-420 plane.

Avenatti, who represented himself in court despite the loss of his law license, has asked Selna to impose no more than six years in prison that would run concurrently with the five years he is serving for his New York convictions.

“Defendant deserves just punishment for his crimes, including a prison sentence,” Avenatti wrote in a memo to the judge, referring to himself in the third person. “He likewise deserves to lose his law license, his 22-year career, his assets, his countless personal and professional relationships, and his reputation, almost all of which have already been rightly taken from him.”

At the same time, he wrote, “This case, while serious, does not begin to approach a case involving a crime of violence or a fraud resulting in a loss of tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars.”

He urged Selna to consider his his tough upbringing in Missouri and his representation of thousands of clients “ethically and with great success” as he was becoming one of California’s top plaintiff’s lawyers.

The amount of Avenatti’s embezzlement is in dispute. Avenatti said the four clients he admitted defrauding lost $3.4 million; prosecutors argued it was more than $12 million.

“There was no excuse for defendant’s criminal conduct, which was motivated solely by arrogance and greed,” Assistant U.S. Attys. Brett A. Sagel and Ranee A. Katzenstein told Selna in a memo.

Avenatti’s fraud was “cruel,” “callous” and “calculating,” they wrote, and his tax cheating was “massive.” Avenatti stole $3.2 million in federal payroll taxes that his company, Global Baristas U.S., collected from employees of its chain of Tully’s Coffee outlets but failed to pass along to the government, prosecutors said.

“Defendant did not commit his crimes to support his family, pay child support, or for any other arguably mitigating reason; to the contrary, he stole from his clients to live an extravagant lifestyle while some of his victims could barely make ends meet,” they wrote in the memo.

Andrew Stolper, an attorney who worked at Avenatti’s law firm in Newport Beach and often clashed with him, said the audacity he displayed in committing such a wide breadth of crimes seemed to be rooted in narcissism.

“None of it makes any sense other than he deluded himself into thinking he could get away with it,” Stolper said. “If you sit down and try to rationally figure out why a successful lawyer would resort to stealing money from his clients and at the same time elevate himself to the national stage, there’s not enough hours in a lifetime to figure that out.”

Avenatti’s crimes were well under way by the time Daniels vaulted him to fame by hiring him in 2018 to sue Trump. Daniels accepted a $130,000 payment just before the 2016 election to keep quiet about her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump, and Avenatti went to court to void the deal.

Avenatti’s bombastic manner made him an instant hit on cable news shows. He became one of Trump’s fiercest critics on television. He traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire to explore a run for the Democratic presidential nomination, but his legal troubles soon spiraled out of control.

Politics

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Michael Avenatti was caught in a downward spiral of financial trouble last year when Jerry Tobin, an unlikely savior, came to the rescue.

In March 2019, FBI agents arrested Avenatti in midtown Manhattan for trying to extort as much as $25 million from Nike by threatening the company with negative publicity. Following his conviction at trial, he was sentenced last year to 30 months in prison.

Federal prosecutors in New York also charged Avenatti with stealing nearly $300,000 from Daniels’ advance on a book contract. After he was convicted for that too, he got another 48 months in prison.

The two New York sentences are partly concurrent, so Avenatti is, in effect, serving five years in prison. He has been incarcerated most recently at the low-security Terminal Island federal prison in San Pedro.

This courtroom sketch shows U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, left, listening as Stormy Daniels testifies at the most recent New York criminal trial of Michael Avenatti in January 2022.(Elizabeth Williams / Associated Press)

The California indictment was the most sweeping of the three: 36 counts of fraud, perjury, failure to pay taxes, embezzlement and related crimes.

When Avenatti pleaded guilty to five of the charges in June, he had not struck any deal with prosecutors. So he is still facing two counts of bank fraud, four counts of bankruptcy fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, six wire-fraud charges and 18 tax-related charges.

It is not yet clear whether prosecutors will dismiss those charges once Avenatti is sentenced on Monday.

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