CHICAGO — A Chicago investment manager who swindled more than $10 million from clients and lenders has been sentenced to 17 years in federal prison.
SHAWN BALDWIN owned and controlled various investment firms in Chicago. From 2006 to 2017, Baldwin exaggerated his financial success and professional connections to fraudulently obtain more than $11 million from at least 24 investors and lenders. Baldwin falsely claimed that their funds would be invested in stocks and other investment products, when in reality he spent much of the money for his personal benefit, including jewelry, tuition, and international travel.
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.
A jury in 2019 convicted Baldwin, 55, of Olympia Fields, Ill., on seven counts of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey imposed the prison sentence Monday after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.
“Defendant inflated to his victims his credentials, his investment portfolio, and his connections,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Getter, Heidi Manschreck, and Michelle Petersen argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “He convinced friends, acquaintances, and even childhood friends to trust him with their money based on his representations that he would invest it on their behalves in certain equities or businesses of his own. Defendant lied to his victims to get their money, making bold and untrue assertions about his plans for their money, about what he had done with their money, about the value of their investments, about the value of his businesses, about his efforts to refund their money, and about the reasons he could not give them back their money. Defendant moved from one victim to another, using their money to continue traveling in style around the world to sustain a false image of a successful financier in order to help find new victims and enjoy an extravagant lifestyle.”