Chicago money manager convicted in $10 million fraud scheme

CHICAGO -- A federal jury convicted a Chicago investment manager Tuesday of bilking clients and lenders out of more than $10 million over more than a decade.

Shawn Baldwin, 53, of Olympia Fields, swindled the cash from 15 individual investors and corporate lenders when he owned and controlled various investment firms in the city, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

In 2006, Baldwin began exaggerating his financial successes and professional connections to obtain the money, prosecutors said. He told victims that their cash would be placed in the stock market and used in other investment opportunities, but he was actually pocketing it for his own personal use.

Baldwin's deceptive practices also included lying about working with compliance officers and professional advisers and "misrepresenting and minimizing the serious disciplinary actions taken against him by regulators," prosecutors said. In reality, his certifications with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority had been revoked in 2009, and the state of Illinois permanently prohibited him from offering securities sales or investment advice in 2013.

Additionally, Baldwin concealed the fraud scheme by providing victims with bogus account statements and falsely claiming that he was developing lucrative business deals and new contracts that would garner profits from initial public stock offerings, prosecutors said. But Baldwin was actually unable to pay back his investors because he had already lost or spent their money.

The fraud scheme lasted until 2017, when Baldwin was arrested on federal wire fraud charges, prosecutors said. He was convicted of seven of those counts on Tuesday.

Baldwin faces up to 140 years in prison, 20 years for each count, prosecutors said. His sentencing is scheduled for July 9.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2019.)