This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Victims of a conman streamed to a courtroom podium Thursday with tales of how he repeatedly lied, forged documents and cheated them out of millions of dollars and they asked for a long prison sentence.
Third District Judge James T. Blanch obliged, handing down a sentence of four to 30 years to Dwight Shane Baldwin, 35, of Layton, the owner of SilverLeaf Financial who left investors owed at least $14 million.
Blanch rejected Baldwin's pleas for probation on his guilty pleas to seven fraud-related felonies so he could try to pay back his victims. Instead, the judge imposed four one-to-15 year sentences to run consecutively and three others to run concurrently.
That means Baldwin will spend at least four years and as many as 30 in prison, with the length to be decided by the Adult Probation and Parole Board.
"The injuries that you inflicted are going to continue for a period of time, in many cases for the rest of [victims'] lives," Blanch said.
The judge rejected as inappropriate a sentencing report that recommended probation after he heard from five victims who spoke to a courtroom full of victims, state and federal attorneys and agents, and Baldwin family members. So many people showed up that the sentencing hearing was shifted to another courtroom.
B.J. Blaser said he at first had found Baldwin intelligent, passionate and enthusiastic, so he invested in distressed properties that Baldwin was trying to buy and sell for a profit.
"When i met him, I was blown away," Blaser said.
But Baldwin lied repeatedly about what he was up to and forged documents, costing investors that included friends and family millions of dollars.
"Shane is also a liar and a cheat and, in my opinion, a borderline sociopath," Blaser said.
Baldwin's attorney, Earl Xaiz, said Baldwin had great initial successes, first as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then when he entered real estate business.
"He became more arrogant and more and more convinced that anything he touched could be turned into gold," said Xaiz, who mentioned the 401 days Baldwin spent in jail arrested his behavior and brought him to admit to his crimes.
A psychological report said Baldwin suffered from hypomania, which came on during negotiations over big deals for the distressed properties that SilverLeaf specialized in, Xaiz said as Baldwin wiped tears. Baldwin sometimes would not sleep for seven or eight days, Xaiz said, and his family began to notice his behavior got more erratic beginning in about 2010.
Baldwin, dressed in a Salt Lake County Jail jumpsuit and in handcuffs, was confined after writing a bad check for bail on previous charges.
Baldwin apologized to his victims and thanked the lead prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Brian Williams, and FBI Special Agent James Malpede, who investigated the case. He admitted to mistakes and lies but asked Blanch for an opportunity to make restitution to his victims while on probation.
"I will work the rest of my days and I will live in poverty if it means I will pay these people back," said Baldwin. "I believe I deserve that."
His victims, however, weren't buying that idea.
Shane Honey told Blanch he had grown up impoverished and had worked hard to give his kids the things he didn't have.
"My family will never be the same," Honey said, telling the judge, "I hope you're not being deceived like we were."