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Ex-Commodities Trader Sentenced for $10 Million Scheme

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Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Bradley Schiller, a former commodities trader sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for running a $10 million Ponzi scheme that snared PrivateBank & Trust Co., was ordered to pay $5.3 million in restitution.

U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo in Chicago today ordered Schiller, 37, to make the payment, equivalent to the amount the fraud lost, prosecutors said in a statement. She handed down the prison sentence Jan. 14.

Schiller raised more than $10 million from sources including PrivateBank & Trust and spent some of the money on a Range Rover, country-club fees and payments to investors, even as his trading losses mounted, according to prosecutors in the office of U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon in Chicago.

Schiller lied to investors about the profitability of his trading and how he would use their money, prosecutors said.

To get a $2 million line of credit from Chicago-based PrivateBank & Trust, Schiller represented that he had a net worth of $2.6 million and $5.5 million in his commodities accounts, prosecutors said. In truth, he had a negative net worth and almost nothing on balance in the accounts, according to the statement.

Schiller was charged with three counts of wire fraud in August and pleaded guilty to one count in October. His attorney, Jeffrey Schulman, didn’t immediately respond to a voice-mail message seeking comment on the sentence. Schiller is to begin serving his prison term in mid-April, according to prosecutors.

The case is U.S. v. Schiller, 13-cr-00693, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in federal court in Chicago at aharris16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net