Previously, utahricolaw.com reported on the guilty plea of Dwight Shane Baldwin, a Layton businessman accused of bilking money from investors for purported real-estate based ventures for Baldwin’s company and to fund a reality TV show. Now, Baldwin faces up to 60 years in prison after being sentenced in Utah state court.
Judge Blanch Sentences Baldwin to up to 60 Years in Prison
Third District Court Judge James T. Blanch sentenced Baldwin to six terms of one to 15 years at the Utah State Prison. Four of those six terms imposed by Judge Blanch are to run consecutively, meaning Baldwin could be in prison for four to 60 years. Those four terms relate to the securities fraud charges that Baldwin agreed to plead guilty to in exchange for the State dropping eight other charges. The other two sentences, one for theft and one for engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, will run consecutively with the others.
Baldwin Also Sentenced for Assaulting Jailer
In addition to imposing the six one to 15 year prison terms on Baldwin, Judge Blanch also sentenced Baldwin to jail time served for attacking a Salt Lake County jailer in November 2015. A probable cause affidavit had alleged that Baldwin became angry and shoved, punched, and scratched and tried to gouge the eye of the jailer.
FBI Investigation Leads to Charges Against Baldwin
The FBI began investigating Baldwin in 2013 after receiving reports that the founder of Salt Lake City-based Silverleaf Financial may have been committing investment fraud since 2010 against several investors in a series of loan and property investment deals. In a probable cause affidavit, the FBI said it gathered evidence at one point by sending in an undercover agent to participate in one of the investment negotiations.
The original charging documents filed by the State alleged Baldwin, from 2010 to 2013, solicited investments from individuals for so-called real estate ventures to be undertaken by Baldwin’s company. One such investment scheme hatched by Baldwin persuaded investors to pour $200,000 into a California toy company, the State said. However, according to the State, more than half of that $200,000 was used for unrelated expenses that to other Baldwin companies and/or for personal expenses. The State alleged that another of Baldwin’s schemes involved solicitation of approximately $500,000 from investors to help fund a $1.7 million ABC reality TV series.
Baldwin Previously Pleaded Guilty to Similar Conduct in 2008
What’s more is that Baldwin had actually run into trouble with state securities regulators and law enforcement officials previously in 2007 for similar types of investment activities. However, at that time, Baldwin avoided jail time by entering into a plea bargain. In 2008, Baldwin entered into pleas in abeyance on two felonies and was ordered to pay approximately $200,000 in restitution to victims of his investment activities. Baldwin fulfilled those terms and the charges were subsequently dismissed in 2011, according to court records.
Statements from Utah’s Attorney General
Following the charges in 2015, the Utah Attorney General’s Office released a statement on the investigation and charging of Baldwin. In the statement, Attorney General Sean Reyes was quoted as saying:
This is precisely the type of case that our office will prosecute aggressively and if the allegations are proven, it is a clear example why we will soon launch a White Collar Crime Registry. Every time I see innocent people, no matter their age or financial situation, who hand over their hard-earned money to alleged fraudsters, my commitment to protect Utah citizens deepens. It is why we emphasize that people should verify the legitimacy of a deal or offering, before ever trusting anyone, even close friends and family, with money to invest. We appreciate the fine investigative work on this case performed by our partners, the Utah Division of Securities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We also thank the United States Attorney’s Office for inviting us to lead the prosecution of this case. Of course, we presume all defendants are innocent unless we can prove our case and we will continue to pursue this matter in a professional and responsible manner.
Now, following Baldwin’s sentencing, the Attorney General’s Office has released another statement. This time, Sean Reyes was quoted as saying:
It continues to be important that people verify the legitimacy of any deal or offering before ever trusting anyone, even close friends and family, with money to invest. This case is an excellent example of the damage that can be wrought upon innocent victims when trust is violated. We hope citizens will take great precautions, including checking the White Collar Fraud Offender Registry, when making investments of any sort. I cannot emphasize this enough. Fraud destroys lives. Fraud decimates families and businesses. Utahans must do everything in their power to protect themselves while we continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute fraudsters. We appreciate the fine work and cooperation of our partners, the Utah Division of Securities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We also thank the United States Attorney’s Office for inviting us to lead the prosecution of this case.
Baldwin’s Potential 60 Year Sentence Serves as a Cautionary Tale
Baldwin’s case serves a cautionary tale for those engaged in the practice of soliciting investors for business ventures, including that those solicitations may result in serious felony charges, which when numerous enough can lead to a charge for engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity. A charge for engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity under the Utah Pattern of Unlawful Activity Act (“UPUAA”) is a second degree felony, which is punishable by one to 15 years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine. In addition to the penalties prescribed by law, a court may impose other additional penalties on a defendant, including: ordering restitution, ordering the defendant to divest him or herself of any interest in the enterprise for which the defendant was charged, or order the dissolution or reorganization of that enterprise.
Contact our UPUAA Attorneys Today
If you or someone you know has been charged with engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, or have been charged with a white collar crime or other non-white collar crime, please contact our white collar and criminal defense attorneys today. Our UPUAA attorneys have experience defending claims in state district courts, as well as state appellate courts. Our UPUAA attorneys may be reached confidentially by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (801) 323-5000, or through our contact form.
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