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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Chicago Investment Manager Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges for Allegedly Swindling $10 Million from Clients and Lenders

CHICAGO — A Chicago investment manager has been indicted for allegedly swindling more than $10 million from clients and lenders.

SHAWN BALDWIN, who owned and controlled various investment-related firms in Chicago, exaggerated his financial success and professional connections to fraudulently obtain more than $10 million from at least 17 investors and lenders, according to an indictment returned in federal court in Chicago.  Baldwin falsely claimed that their funds would be invested in stocks and other investment products, when, in fact, Baldwin spent the money for his own personal benefit, the indictment states.  The fraud scheme alleged in the indictment began in 2006 and continued until May of this year.

The indictment was returned on Dec. 7, 2017, and ordered unsealed on Monday.  It charges Baldwin, 51, of Olympia Fields, with eight counts of wire fraud.  Baldwin pleaded not guilty at a Monday arraignment in federal court in Chicago.  A status hearing is set for Dec. 28, 2017, at 1:00 p.m., before U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey.

The indictment 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.

According to the indictment, 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, in fact, no such relationships existed, the indictment states.  Baldwin also deceived the investors and lenders by misrepresenting and minimizing the serious disciplinary actions taken against him by regulators, the indictment states.  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.

Baldwin attempted to conceal the scheme by furnishing victims with fraudulent account statements that misrepresented the value of their funds, the indictment states.  Baldwin also lulled his victims by falsely maintaining that he was working on lucrative business deals and developing new contacts that would lead to profits from initial public stock offerings, the indictment states.  In reality, Baldwin knew he could not pay back investors because he had lost or spent their money, the charges allege.

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 prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Getter.

Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Financial Fraud
Updated December 12, 2017