Owner of Suburban Chicago Insurance Agency Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Swindling More Than $1 Million From Clients
CHICAGO — A Chicago trader has been convicted of fraud for engaging in unauthorized speculative bond trading that cost his employer and others more than $30 million.
A jury in U.S. District Court in Chicago on Wednesday convicted KEITH WAKEFIELD, 50, of Chicago, on one count of securities fraud and three counts of wire fraud. Each count is punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Steven C. Seeger did not immediately set a sentencing date.
The conviction was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed a civil enforcement action against Wakefield, provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean Franzblau and Bradley A. Tucker are prosecuting the criminal case.
According to evidence presented at trial, Wakefield worked as the head of fixed income trading for IFS Securities, Inc., a broker-dealer in Chicago. In 2019, Wakefield knowingly and fraudulently engaged in unauthorized speculative trading in U.S. Treasury bonds using his employer’s trading accounts, causing more than $30 million in losses to the employer and its counterparties. Wakefield attempted to conceal the unauthorized trades and losses by entering fake off-setting trades into a clearing broker’s order system, creating the false impression that he had profitably traded through a different clearing broker.
In addition to the fraudulent trading scheme, Wakefield from 2017 to 2019 embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from IFS Securities by falsifying the company’s books and records to create fake commissions that Wakefield knew were not actually owed to him.