SALT LAKE CITY — A state judge has sentenced a Layton man to six prison terms arising out of a $14 million investment and real estate loan scheme that included a pitch for money to fund a reality TV show.
Judge James Blanch sentenced Dwight Shane Baldwin, 35, on Thursday, May 26 in 3rd District Court to six terms of 1 to 15 years at the Utah State Prison, four to be served consecutively — meaning he could be in prison for four to 60 years, court documents show. In return for dismissal of eight other charges, Baldwin had pleaded guilty to four counts of securities fraud, one count of theft and one count of engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity. The latter two sentences are to be served concurrently with the others.
On Friday, Blanch also sentenced Baldwin to jail time served for attacking a Salt Lake County jailer on Nov. 4, 2015. A probable cause affidavit said Baldwin became angry and shoved, punched, scratched and tried to gouge the eye of a jailer.
One of the securities fraud charges involved Baldwin engineering a $10,000 check fraud against a credit union in Farmington to pay for bailing him out of jail after he was arrested in the larger fraud scheme in early April 2015, according to a probable cause statement.
Court records showed 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.
In one transaction, which resulted in a $500,000 fraud, Baldwin said he needed money quickly to help fund a $1.7 million ABC reality TV series, a pitch that apparently was fictitious, according to court documents.
Baldwin had run into trouble with state securities regulators and police in 2007 for similar investment activities. He avoided jail time then in a plea bargain. He made pleas in abeyance in 2008 on two felonies and was ordered to pay at least $200,000 in restitution to victims. He fulfilled those terms and the charges were dismissed in 2011, court records show.
In a prepared statement, Attorney General Sean Reyes urged Utahns to check the White Collar Fraud Offender Registry before investing.
"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,” the statement said. “This case is an excellent example of the damage that can be wrought upon innocent victims when trust is violated.”