IN THE MATTER OF DISCIPLINE OF R. CHRISTOPHER READE, BAR NO. 6791.
review of a disciplinary board hearing panel's
recommendation for attorney discipline.
Premier Legal Group and Jay A. Shafer, Las Vegas; Wright
Stanish & Winckler and Richard A. Wright, Las Vegas, for
R. Christopher Reade.
Stanley Hunterton, Bar Counsel, and David W. Mincavage, Las
Vegas, for State Bar of Nevada.
THE COURT EN BANC.
opinion, we conduct an automatic review of a Southern Nevada
Disciplinary Board hearing panel's recommendation that
attorney R. Christopher Reade be suspended from the practice
of law in Nevada for 30 months and be required to pay a $25,
000 fine to the Clients' Security Fund, based on
violating RPC 8.4(b) (misconduct). This court previously
considered, and rejected, the panel's approval of a
conditional guilty plea agreement between Reade and the State
Bar under which Reade would be suspended from the practice of
law for 2 years. Considering the serious nature of the
misconduct and similar discipline cases, we again conclude
that the panel's recommended suspension is insufficient
and impose a suspension of 4 years. However, as a matter of
first impression, we further conclude that the imposition of
a fine exceeds the scope of sanctions permissible under SCR
102(2) for a suspension.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Christopher Reade was admitted to practice law in Nevada in
1998. Reade began representing Global One and its owner,
Richard Young, in February 2007. Global One purported to
train people in trading FOREX, a term associated with trading
foreign currency. Such contracts were traded by merchants
referred to as FOREX brokers. From 2006 to 2008, Young
organized a fraudulent scheme through which he obtained
approximately $16 million in loans from members of Global One
by falsely promising them a return of future profits. Young
directed Reade to establish a holding corporation, and Reade
was listed as the corporation's director, secretary, and
president. Young transferred the fraudulently obtained
proceeds to the holding corporation's account to purchase
a FOREX brokerage business while concealing the source of
payment. These transactions were the basis of Young's
conviction for money laundering under 18 U.S.C. §
1956(a)(1)(B)(i). Global One issued a $75, 000 check to
Reade's law firm for the services Reade provided,
including those related to the holding corporation and
purchase of the FOREX brokerage.
National Futures Association (NFA) regulates trading
practices in FOREX. The NFA must review and approve all FOREX
broker purchases in the United States. When the NFA
interviewed Reade, he falsely stated that (1) "he was
unaware who owned Global One, " (2) "Global
One's assets were not used to purchase [the FOREX
brokerage], " (3) "he was unaware of how Global One
raised money, " and (4) "the funds in the [holding
corporation's! accounts came from his personal
contributions and assets."
Reade knowingly made false representations to the NFA, and
knew that his false representations would hinder the
investigation and were intended to prevent Young from being
prosecuted for money laundering. These actions resulted in
Reade's felony conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 3 for
one count of accessory after the fact to money laundering.
The United States District Court for the District of Nevada
sentenced him to 366 days in prison, ordered him to pay a
$40, 000 fine, and imposed a term of supervised release of up
to 3 years. Reade agreed to abandon the $75, 000 payment he
received from Global One to the Internal Revenue Service.
and the State Bar initially entered into a conditional guilty
plea agreement under which Reade stipulated to violating RPC
8.4(b) (misconduct) and a suspension for 2 years. A Southern
Nevada Disciplinary Board hearing panel approved the
agreement. However, we rejected the conditional guilty plea
because the 2-year suspension was insufficient. On remand,
Reade again stipulated to violating RPC 8.4(b) (misconduct),
and the hearing panel recommended that Reade be suspended
from the practice of law in Nevada for 30 months and be
required to pay a $25, 000 fine to the Clients' Security
Fund. This automatic review followed.
State Bar has the burden of showing by clear and convincing
evidence that Reade committed the violation charged. In
re Discipline of Drakulich,111 Nev. 1556, 1566, 908
P.2d 709, 715 (1995). Here, Reade admitted to committing the
violation. Thus, we conclude that the record establishes by
clear and convincing evidence that Reade violated RPC 8.4(b)
when he knew that Young had committed the crime of money
laundering and he ...