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In re Discipline of Reade

Supreme Court of Nevada

November 16, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF DISCIPLINE OF R. CHRISTOPHER READE, BAR NO. 6791.

         Automatic review of a disciplinary board hearing panel's recommendation for attorney discipline.

         Suspension issued.

          Premier Legal Group and Jay A. Shafer, Las Vegas; Wright Stanish & Winckler and Richard A. Wright, Las Vegas, for R. Christopher Reade.

          C. Stanley Hunterton, Bar Counsel, and David W. Mincavage, Las Vegas, for State Bar of Nevada.

         BEFORE THE COURT EN BANC.[1]

          OPINION

          HARDESTY, J.

         In this 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.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         R. 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.

         The 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."

         Thus, 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.

         Reade 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.

         DISCUSSION

         The 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 ...


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