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Calling him unstable and desperate, state prosecutors on Wednesday filed criminal charges alleging a Davis County man cheated investors out of more than $14 million making it the third time within a month that Dwight Shane Baldwin has faced criminal charges.
Third District Judge Laura Scott issued a warrant and set bail at $500,000 after the Utah attorney general's office said Baldwin had intentionally written a bad check for bail in one of the previous cases and had continued to solicit loans or investments.
Baldwin, founder and manager of Silverleaf Financial, was being held in the Salt Lake County jail after he failed to make a $100,000 cash bond imposed in the earlier case where his bail-fee check had bounced.
In the latest allegations, Baldwin, 34, faces 14 second-degree felonies involving $14 million solicited from investors.
Baldwin promised high returns, saying that he was going to use investor funds to purchase distressed debt that was secured by real property.
In one instance, however, he took $2 million from an investor but then allegedly never purchased the asset as promised. He also allegedly stole $1 million from the corporation managing an investment and spent it on personal expenses, according to the charges.
In addition to the $14 million cited in the latest charges, other investors lost "additional millions" and may testify against him, prosecutors said.
In asking for a high bail, they also cited:
• Multiple civil lawsuits Baldwin is facing as a result of the "chaos" he created with his alleged frauds.
• A criminal case filed in early April alleging he offered "essentially worthless" notes as collateral for a $500,000 loan he solicited in March. That came after he had entered into a plea in abeyance in 2010 and promised to make restitution of $200,000 to investors.
• He provided a $10,000 check to 1st Out Bail Bonds to cover his fee on a $100,000 bail from an account he allegedly knew did not have sufficient funds.
• A second case in late April charged him with two other counts of communications fraud and theft stemming from the bounced bail check.
• Upheaval in his personal life, which was followed by his seeking mental-health treatment, according to charging documents.
"Baldwin is unstable, desperate and, given his ongoing conduct, is a financial danger to Utah consumers," prosecutors wrote.
In a news release, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes cited the case as an example of "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."
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Utah Division of Securities, according to a news release.