Las Vegas, Nevada - A Las Vegas attorney pleaded guilty today to assisting a client launder approximately $2.25 million that had been obtained fraudulently in an online investment scheme in which over 1,400 persons lost $16 million, announced the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada.
R. Christopher Reade, 43, of North Las Vegas, pleaded guilty to one count of accessory after the fact to laundering of monetary instruments. Reade faces up to 10 years in prison and a $1,125,000 fine and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 2, 2014.
Reade was a licensed attorney in Las Vegas and practiced business law. His client, Rick Young, owned and operated a Nevada corporation known as Global One Group LLC, a web-based company that purported to train others how to trade in the foreign currency exchange market, or FOREX. Young advertised that he was an experienced and highly successful trader in the FOREX market, who, for a fee, would teach persons his winning trading strategies and techniques. Young solicited persons to become members of Global One, which would allow them access to his web-based live training seminars. Young claimed that he had developed an automated trading program that traded according to his strategies simply by “flipping a switch.” Young enticed members into providing money for “loans” to Global One and told them that they would be able to earn high yield returns on their investments. In actuality, the automated trading program did not exist in the form that Young represented, and Young was running an elaborate Ponzi scheme in which proceeds from the member loans were diverted to Young his own use. From about 2006 to 2008, Young derived approximately $16 million in proceeds from the scheme.
Beginning in February 2007, Reade represented Young and Global One in connection with business litigation and transactions. In March 2007, Young intended to use Global One loan money to purchase a FOREX brokerage company named Trend. To disguise the source and ownership of the illegal proceeds, Young authorized Reade to create and control a holding corporation called Way FX Corp. In April 2007, Young transferred approximately $2.25 million from Global One accounts to the Way FX bank account controlled by Reade, and Reade signed an agreement to purchase Trend. On August 21, 2007, Reade received $75,000 from Global One for his services related to Way FX and the purchase of Trend.
From about May 2007 to August 2007, in connection with an investigation by the National Futures Association about the ownership and funding of Trend, Reade falsely told investigators that he was unaware who owned Global One or how Global One raised money and that the funds used to purchase Trend came from his personal contributions and not from Global One. Reade knew that his statements were false and that Young had committed the offense of money laundering. Reade also knew that he had assisted Young in order to hinder or prevent the investigation of Young in connection with the money laundering.
In March 2011, Young was convicted by a federal jury in the District of Nevada of conspiracy, fraud, and money laundering charges. In December 2011, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison and ordered to pay $13.3 million in restitution.
The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by First Assistant United States Attorney Steven W. Myhre and Assistant United States Attorney James E. Keller.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys' offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants, including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.