CHICAGO — A federal jury today convicted a Chicago investment manager on fraud charges for swindling more than $10 million from clients and lenders.
SHAWN BALDWIN, who owned and controlled various investment firms in Chicago, exaggerated his financial success and professional connections to fraudulently obtain more than $10 million from at least 15 investors and lenders. Baldwin falsely claimed that their funds would be invested in stocks and other investment products, when in reality he spent the money for his own personal benefit. Baldwin’s fraud scheme began in 2006 and continued until 2017.
The jury in U.S. District Court in Chicago convicted Baldwin, 53, of Olympia Fields, on seven counts of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey set sentencing for July 9, 2019.
The conviction was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Getter, Heidi Manschreck and Michelle Petersen.
According to evidence presented at trial, Baldwin obtained funds from individual investors, as well as from corporate lenders who lent him money for use in business and personal dealings. Baldwin claimed that compliance officers and professional advisors were affiliated with his firms, when no such relationships actually existed.
Baldwin also deceived investors and lenders by misrepresenting and minimizing the serious disciplinary actions taken against him by regulators. The regulatory actions included the revocation of his certifications with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in 2009, and a permanent prohibition from offering securities sales or investment advice, which the State of Illinois imposed in 2013.
Evidence at trial further revealed that Baldwin attempted to conceal the fraud scheme by furnishing victims with bogus account statements that misrepresented the value of their funds. He also lulled his victims by falsely maintaining that he was developing lucrative business deals and new contacts that would lead to profits from initial public stock offerings. In reality, Baldwin could not pay back investors because he had lost or spent their money.
Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.