LAS VEGAS -- An attorney from North Las Vegas pleaded guilty Wednesday to helping a client launder roughly $2.25 million that was obtained fraudulently in an online investment scheme, Nevada's U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said.
The scheme resulted in $16 million in losses combined for more than 1,400 victims.
R. Christopher Reade, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of accessory after the fact to laundering of monetary instruments. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $1,125,000 fine, and is scheduled to be sentenced May 2.
Reade practiced business law and his client, Rick Young, owned and operated a Nevada corporation known as Global One Group. The web-based company purported to train others on how to trade in the foreign currency exchange market known as FOREX.
According to prosecutors, Young solicited individuals to become members of Global One, which would allow them access to his web-based live training seminars. He claimed he developed an automated program that traded according to his strategies simply by "flipping a switch."
He also enticed members into providing money for "loans" to Global One and told them they would earn high returns on their investments. In actuality, the automated trading program allegedly did not exist in the form that Young represented. Instead, prosecutors believe Young ran an elaborate Ponzi scheme in which proceeds from the member loans were diverted to Young for his own use.
From 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. The following month 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 allegedly authorized Reade to create and control a holding corporation called Way FX Corp.
In April 2007, Young transferred roughly $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 services related to Way FX and the purchase of Trend.
In connection with an investigation by the National Futures Association about the ownership and funding of Trend, Reade falsely told investigators he was unaware who owned Global One or how Global One raised money. Reade knew that his statements were false and that Young had committed the offense of money laundering. Reade also knew he assisted Young to hinder the investigation of Young in connection with the money laundering.
In March 2011, Young was convicted by a federal jury in 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 Myhre and Assistant United States Attorney James Keller.