Despite an emotional plea for leniency, veteran Las Vegas lawyer R. Christopher Reade was sentenced to 366 days in federal prison Tuesday in a $2.3 million money laundering scheme involving one of his former clients.
The client, Richard Young, 54, of Montana, was given a 25-year prison term in December 2011 in a separate $16 million investment fraud scheme.
Senior U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson on Tuesday also fined Reade $40,000 and ordered him to serve three years of supervised release after prison. Reade has until Oct. 17 to surrender to federal prison authorities.
Reade, 43, a longtime civil attorney, pleaded guilty in January to one count of accessory after the fact to laundering of monetary instruments.
“I was given a great life,” Reade told Dawson in a courtroom packed with his friends, family and former clients. “I built upon that great life, and now I have left it in rubble.”
Reade, his voice cracking at times, said he was heartbroken over the “humiliation and devastation” his actions have caused his family and other supporters.
“There are no amount of good deeds I can do that will repair the scar I have left on this life,” he said.
Reade said he also was remorseful for the harm he caused the legal profession he one day hopes to be a part of again. He agreed to a temporary suspension of his license earlier this year and is awaiting further discipline from the State Bar of Nevada.
His lead defense lawyer Richard Wright said Reade committed the crime not because he was a bad person but because he was “overzealous” in representing what turned out to be a bad client.
“He’s a decent man who made a serious mistake,” Wright said.
Federal prosecutors sought up to two years in prison for Reade, suggesting he knew what he had gotten himself into and did not walk away.
“Clearly, he had many opportunities along the way to just say no,” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre said. “He knew what he was doing and he did it anyway.”
In the end, Dawson decided 366 days was enough punishment.
Dawson said he expected Reade would be more vigilant about investigating the background of his clients when he returns to practicing law after prison.
Reade admitted in his plea agreement that he hid from authorities Young’s role in the $2.3 million purchase in 2007 of a company that brokered sales on the high-risk foreign currency exchange market.
At the time, Reade represented Young and his Global One Group, an Internet-based company that claimed to be training people on how to trade on the currency exchange market. Young ran his massive fraud scheme online through Global One, defrauding investors out of $16 million between 2006 and 2008, according to federal prosecutors.
Reade acknowledged that Young and Global One funneled the $2.3 million into a holding company Reade created to purchase the currency exchange broker, Trend Commodities, and lied to regulators about it.
The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation in Las Vegas.
Contact Jeff German at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-8135. Find him on Twitter: @JGermanRJ.