Skip to main content
Press Release

Suburban Chicago Man Among Three People Charged With Swindling Investors out of More Than $3.9 Million

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

CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago man was among three people indicted on federal fraud charges for allegedly swindling investors, including a children’s charity, out of more than $3.9 million.

EDWARD L. WOOTEN, LEE S. ROSE, and JOHN L. KRCIL claimed to work for a Wyoming investment company called Black Lion Investment Partners Inc.  Beginning in 2019, the trio falsely suggested to investors that they could earn substantial returns by participating in so-called “private placement” trading programs involving “investment grade fixed income securities” of “top-rated” banks or financial institutions, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  The defendants fraudulently claimed that their trading programs yielded multi-million-dollar investment returns within short periods of time, and that investor funds would be returned if the programs failed to perform within 60 days, the indictment states.  The charges allege that the defendants failed to use all investor funds to conduct trades, did not pay any trading profits to investors, and did not return all investor funds as promised.

The defendants instead converted investor funds to their own use and benefit, the indictment states.  As a result of the fraud scheme, six investors, including an Oklahoma children’s charity, suffered losses totaling approximately $3,905,000.

Wooten, 51, of Macon, Ga., Rose, 82, of Deerfield, Ill., and Krcil, 55, of Hanover, Minn., are charged with wire fraud and interstate transfer of money taken by fraud.  Wooten and Rose are also charged with money laundering and making false statements.  Wooten also faces a charge of making false statements to the FBI, while Rose is charged with making false statements to a federal judge, the FBI, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The indictment 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 SEC provided valuable assistance.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Havey.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Updated March 1, 2024

Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud