Banking & Finance and Investing and Tim Durham

Still hoping to sell securities, Fair Finance seeks extension

December 14, 2009

Tim Durham’s Fair Finance Co. says it needs another 30 days to provide the state of Ohio with a mountain of documents it requested relating to insider loans and other issues.

The company is continuing to seek clearance from Ohio securities regulators to sell a new round of investment certificates. The Akron, Ohio-based firm is pressing ahead despite allegations by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis that the company is operating like a Ponzi scheme, using revenue from the sale of new certificates to pay off earlier rounds of investors.

The Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Securities has twice turned Fair away, saying it would need additional information before deciding whether to allow the company to sell $250 million in additional certificates.

The Division of Securities on Dec. 3 called the company’s latest application “incomplete and inadequate” and gave Fair until this past Friday to provide a mountain of additional information.

But instead of providing the information, Ronald Kaffen, a securities attorney representing Fair, sent a letter to the division on Friday seeking the extension.

Kaffen said Fair needed the extra time because it is only now getting computers and servers back from the FBI, which seized the equipment and company documents during Nov. 24 raids in Indianapolis and Akron.

Fair’s prior registration, from July 2008, expired that same day, forcing it to suspend sales of investment certificates. The company has not reopened since, spurring anxiety among the Ohio residents who have purchased about $200 million in Fair certificates. In a press release on Friday, the company said it “still not determined when or if it will be able to resume regular business with regard to the sale and redemption of investment certificates."

In a late October investigative story, IBJ reported that since Durham bought Fair Finance from Donald Fair in 2002, he had used it almost like a personal bank to fund a range of business interests, some of them unsuccessful.

The story noted that Durham and related parties owed Fair more than $168 million, and it questioned whether the firm had the financial wherewithal to repay purchasers of investment certificates.

Dennis Ginty, a spokesman for the Division of Securities, said it will grant the 30-day extension.


 

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