SALT LAKE CITY April 8, 2016 – The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) announced today that Dwight Shane Baldwin, more commonly known as Shane Baldwin, pleaded guilty last week in Third District Court in Salt Lake City to four counts of Securities Fraud, one count of Theft, and one count of Pattern of Unlawful Activity, all 2nd Degree Felonies. Baldwin also pleaded guilty to one count of Communications Fraud, a 2nd Degree Felony, in a separate companion case. Baldwin was prosecuted by the Mortgage and Financial Fraud Unit of the OAG after an investigation by the Utah Division of Securities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
“Too many lives are turned upside down by rampant investment fraud in Utah. Mr. Baldwin’s case is no different. Over a number of years, Mr. Baldwin has victimized scores of investors and destroyed the lives of many Utahns who believed and trusted him with their hard earned savings. It remains one of my highest priorities to prosecute white-collar offenders like Mr. Baldwin,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes.
“We commend the hard work and thorough investigation by our partners the Utah Division of Securities and the FBI, who put together a compelling case. We are honored that they would trust us to prosecute such a complex and difficult white collar scheme and we look forward to continued collaboration.
“Many in the Utah investment community have long voiced concerns regarding Silverleaf and Mr. Baldwin. It is time he be held accountable for his actions. I hope he takes responsibility by repaying his victims through restitution, no matter how long it takes.”
“The FBI views the Baldwin case as a successful example of joint cooperation between the FBI and Attorney General’s Office in the investigation of an egregious investment scheme,” said Supervisory Special Agent Michael Pickett. “FBI Salt Lake City Special Agent in Charge Eric Barnhart has stated that the FBI and its law enforcement partners are committed to investigating and prosecuting those who intentionally mislead and take advantage of hard-working investors. We encourage the public to remain vigilant and report suspected fraud to the nearest FBI office.”
“Shane Baldwin left a trail of Utah victims with losses in the millions in the wake of his shocking securities scheme. We would like to thank the collaborative efforts of the FBI and Utah Attorney General’s Office for bringing this complex case to justice,” said Keith Woodwell, Director of the Division of Securities.
As admitted in his plea, between 2010 and 2013 Baldwin engaged in a pattern of fraudulent conduct in connection with his company Silverleaf Financial. Baldwin solicited investors to provide funds for Silverleaf’s purported real estate based ventures. Typically, Baldwin promised investors large returns within short periods of time with little to no risk. In connection with the offer and sale of these investments, Baldwin made numerous material misrepresentations and omissions including the risks associated with the investment, how the investment funds would be spent, and Baldwin’s ability to close the promised real estate transactions.
The State of Utah alleges that as a result of Baldwin’s admitted fraud investors lost tens of millions of dollars. Investors’ losses and required restitution will be determined at a hearing following a scheduled May 26, 2016 sentencing.
Cases like this underscore the need for Utah’s White Collar Crime Offender Registry (WCCOR). With the support of Governor Gary Herbert, Sen. Curt Bramble and Rep. Mike McKell, Utah became the first state to require second degree white collar felons be listed in a searchable database. This protects future investors, deters fraudsters and incentivizes restitution by allowing removal from the WCCOR after full repayment.