More On: Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian settles with the SEC over her promotion of cryptocurrency and will pay a fine of $1.26 million
Kim Kardashian's plans to become a lawyer could be in danger because of the SEC 'pump and dump' scandal
Experts say that the Securities and Exchange Commission's charges against Kim Kardashian for an alleged 'pump and dump' scheme could hurt her plans to become a lawyer.
Duncan Levin, a former New York prosecutor who is now a criminal defense attorney, told The Post that if Kardashian tries to join the bar, she will probably be asked about the SEC case. This is because people who want to become lawyers not only have to take the bar exam, but they often also have to go before a character committee.
Levin of the firm Levin & Associates, PLLC said, "This is a very serious matter." "This is against securities laws, and when lawyers-to-be go before the bar, they are judged on their character. If she tried to join the bar, this would almost certainly come up."
The reality TV star and social media influencer agreed to pay $1.2 million in fines and help the SEC with its investigation into claims that she promoted EMAX crypto tokens on Instagram in June 2021 without telling her millions of followers that she was paid $250,000 for the plug.
The 41-year-old "Kardashians" star didn't admit or deny any wrongdoing when he paid the settlement, the SEC said in a statement.
“This might not ultimately stop her from becoming a member of the bar, but it is likely to raise a flag that must be dealt with,” Levin said.
Kardashian wants to become a lawyer so she can fight for prison reform. In December, after four tries, she passed the "baby bar" test for first-year law students in California.
In California, to become a lawyer, you have to take the bar, go through a background check, and in some cases, attend a "informal conference with State Bar staff" if the background check turns up information "that raises questions about whether the applicant meets the standard of good moral character," according to the State Bar of California website.
"Lawyers are given a lot of power over their clients' lives and finances," Levin said. "They are often asked to hold their clients' money in escrow and handle complicated financial transactions for them."
"I think this is the screening method by which the bar can ask questions of people who may have criminal convictions, bankruptcies, or other things in their past that may need to be explained," Levin said.
Levin said that he has heard of bar applicants who had trouble getting through the character part of the bar for "very minor issues." One person had a "infraction related to marijuana," which is obviously much more serious.
"It doesn't mean that someone with a conviction can't join the bar, but it gives the committee a chance to ask more questions," he said.
Still, Levin said, "It's clear that the SEC is trying to teach her a lesson with such a big fine."
"A fine of a million dollars for this is a lot," he said.
Joshua Ritter, a defense lawyer from California and a former prosecutor in Los Angeles, told The Post that the SEC charges won't make things easier for Kardashian.
"Everyone who gets a law license has to go through a pretty thorough background check, and I would say that even a negotiated settlement with SEC where no liability was admitted would still likely lead to more investigation by the bar," Ritter said.
Even though Kardashian didn't admit to doing anything wrong in the SEC settlement, "things are complicated by the fact that the cryptocurrency she was promoting is under investigation as a pump-and-dump fraud scheme," Ritter said.
"It's one thing to break the SEC's rules in a technical way, but it's another thing when the securities you're selling may be fake," Ritter said.
Still, Ritter says that the SEC case is not likely to cause Kardashian to fail the background check.
Ritter said, "It's rare that they wouldn't pass someone." "The applicant would have to show that he or she has a serious moral problem."
Ritter said, "I don't think a single technical mistake that doesn't lead to a criminal charge would keep her from passing the background check."
In a California class-action lawsuit filed earlier this year, New Yorker Ryan Huegerich said that Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather made "false or misleading statements" about EthereumMax's EMAX tokens as part of a "pump and dump" scheme.
A request for a comment from a rep for Kardashian wasn't answered right away.
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