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Former Trader Sentenced for Fraud

September 14, 2001

CHICAGO (AP) _ A federal judge has sentenced former commodities trader Barry J. Wolf to five years in prison for running an investment scheme that bilked investors out of nearly $3 million.

In sentencing Wolf, Senior U.S. District Court Judge William Hart also ordered the former trader to pay full restitution to his victims and to undergo drug counseling in prison.

Wolf, 37, pleaded guilty in May to 13 counts of mail and commodities fraud, admitting that he wooed investors with misleading radio ads that spoke of huge returns on their money.

In his prospectus, Wolf told potential investors that he would use their money to purchase options on heating oil in the fall and unleaded gasoline options in the spring.

Instead, prosecutors said, Wolf ``churned″ the accounts by making unnecessary multiple trades to generate more than $1 million in commissions to finance his own lavish lifestyle. Most of the invested money was lost.

Several victims testified that they lost their life savings in the scheme, including one man who said he had intended to use his earnings to pay for his son’s cancer treatment.

Prosecutors said some of the 260 investors lost more than $150,000 apiece to Wolf.