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Press Release

Chicago Investment Advisor Indicted on Fraud Charges for Allegedly Swindling Clients Out of $683,000

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A Chicago investment advisor has been indicted on federal fraud charges for allegedly swindling three clients out of approximately $683,000.

DAVID SHELDON WELLS, 32, of Chicago, was charged with three counts of wire fraud in an indictment returned Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  Arraignment is set for today at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Heather K. McShain.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Douglas Zloto, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Secret Service Chicago Field Office.  Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Havey.

According to the indictment, Wells worked as an investment advisor in the Chicago branch of a subsidiary of a Midwestern bank.  In 2020 and 2021, Wells falsely represented to three clients, including two elderly men suffering from dementia, that he would invest their money in publicly traded companies.  Based on the false representations, the clients sent him checks made payable to “Wayne and Stark,” which Wells claimed was a publicly traded company.  In reality, Wayne and Stark was a shell company set up and solely controlled by Wells, the indictment states. 

Wells used the clients’ funds for his personal use, including rent and unauthorized trading in high-risk options contracts, the indictment states.  Wells lost or otherwise spent all of the clients’ funds, the indictment states.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Updated February 6, 2023

Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud