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Las Vegas lawyer used clients’ money to gamble, police report says

Updated December 18, 2018 - 6:02 am

The personal injury attorney accused of scheming his clients out of $1.8 million used the money to gamble and to pay for a relationship with an exotic dancer, police documents show.

A Las Vegas detective didn’t mince words when writing the arrest report for Matthew Dunkley, 53, whom police accuse of spending financial settlements his clients were supposed to receive, as well as “malicious (wanton) spending” of money from insurance companies meant to cover medical liens or treatments.

Those clients are now on the hook for the unpaid medical liens, some of whom owe up to $200,000, police wrote in the 56-page report acquired Monday.

“Dunkley abused the trust of the victims and misappropriated the funds to (live) an extravagant lifestyle and to fund a sexual relationship with a young woman,” the Metropolitan Police Department detective wrote.

Police determined that Dunkley illegally transferred nearly $1.86 million during a three-year period of reviewed bank records, the report said.

Dunkley was previously jailed on 39 counts of theft, but he is now being held on nine theft-related charges and a charge of exploitation of an older or vulnerable person, jail records show.

Many of the personal injury cases date to 2012, and one involved a 5-year-old who had been attacked by a dog, police said.

There are likely additional victims of the scheme, investigators wrote, but police don’t know who they may be based on partial records and “the lack of cooperation by Clear Counsel Law Group,” which took over some of Dunkley’s cases.

At a state bar hearing April 11, the report states, Dunkley “admits to taking all of the funds for gambling,” but police discovered several money transfers to a 23-year-old woman who they said was registered as an exotic dancer with a local strip club as of June 12.

Dunkley paid her about $64,000 during the three years of banking records police investigated, the report said.

The dancer told police that Dunkley would pay her so she didn’t have to dance and that she was his “full time girlfriend for her employment and he paid for everything,” the report said.

Clear Counsel hired a legal assistant, Beth Raymond, who had previously worked for Dunkley and had contacted clients on his behalf regarding payments they were expecting to receive, the report states. After a grand jury subpoenaed records from the law firm, Raymond submitted a list of Dunkley’s clients. The list’s accuracy was “unclear,” firm partner Jared Richards told police.

When reached by phone Monday, Richards emailed a statement to the newspaper but declined to comment further.

“There have been significant media inquiries into Clear Counsel Law Group’s relationship with Matthew Dunkley’s former clients,” the statement reads. “In 2017, the State Bar of Nevada requested and the Nevada District Court appointed Clear Counsel Law Group’s partners Jared Richards and Jonathan Barlow to act as special counsel to assist Mr. Dunkley’s former clients with open legal matters. Clear Counsel Law Group has no other relationship with Matthew Dunkley.”

Police noted in the report that the firm had made “no effort” to examine additional potential losses from Dunkley’s cases that the firm had absorbed.

In October of 2017, Dunkley emailed one of his clients who was seeking a settlement check, telling him to contact Richards to receive the money he was owed. According to the report, Richards told the client, “Dunkley gambled all of the money away. Sorry, anyways … good luck.”

Dunkley ran a personal injury attorney firm based out of 2450 St. Rose Parkway in Henderson. The report said the state bar had suspended his law license for two years.

Dunkley was licensed in 1998, bar records show.

The Nevada Supreme Court ordered all proceeds, fees and other funds from Dunkley’s clients to be directed to an account he cannot access and barred him from withdrawing from any account associated with his law practice.

Dunkley remained the only person facing charges in the ongoing investigation as of Monday, Metro spokeswoman Laura Meltzer said.

Metro is asking for any additional clients of Dunkley’s who may be awaiting settlements to call theft detectives at 702-828-3483 or email them at financialcrimes@lvmpd.com. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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