State Crime Reports

Former Commodities Trader Sentenced to 6½ Years in Prison for $5.3 Million Loss to Victims in $10 Million Fraud Scheme

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—February 6, 2014. A former Chicago commodities trader was sentenced to 6½ years in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining more than $10 million and misappropriating a substantial portion of the money for his personal commodities futures trading, to make Ponzitype payments to investors, and to benefit himself and his family, resulting in a loss of $5.3 million. The defendant, BRADLEY SCHILLER, used some of the funds to pay for personal and family expenses, including a Range Rover, jewelry, condominium fees, housing rental fees for his mother-in-law, and country club fees.

Schiller, 37, of Chicago, was ordered yesterday to pay $5.33 million in restitution by U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo, completing his sentencing that began last month. Schiller was ordered to begin serving his 78-month sentence in mid-April. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud last October.

According to court documents, Schiller represented himself as a successful commodities futures trader and raised more than $10 million between 2007 and 2012 from various victims, including The PrivateBank and Trust Company. Schiller lied to sources and prospective providers of funds about the profitability of his futures trading, the use of money he raised, the risks involved in providing him with money, his financial condition, and the status of the funds. He concealed the fraud scheme by making Ponzi-type payments to victims and by creating and distributing fraudulent documents, including phony commodities brokerage and bank account statements, false financial statements, and false tax forms. During the scheme, Schiller had trading losses of more than $1.5 million and needed to continually raise new funds to repay earlier providers of funds.

In obtaining a $2 million line of credit from The PrivateBank, Schiller falsely represented that he had a net worth of about $2.6 million and an overall balance in his commodities accounts in 2009 of approximately $5.5 million. Schiller knew, however, that he had a negative net worth at the time and his overall balance in his commodities accounts was nearly zero.

The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission provided assistance.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Kohler.