Federal prosecutors who charged Tim Durham and two business partners with fraud are arguing that the trio’s alleged victims are so numerous that it would be impractical to comply with federal law and notify them individually of case details.
Durham, 48, along with James Cochran and Rick Snow, are accused of defrauding about 5,400 investors in Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co. of more than $200 million.
Under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004, victims in federal criminal cases are afforded “the right to reasonable, accurate and timely notice of any public court proceeding.”
Prosecutors in Indianapolis on Monday proposed sending an initial letter to each known investor providing the name of the defendants, the case number and a general summary of the pending charges. Instructions on how to access additional information as the case progresses also would be included, according to the plan.
That information would be accessed through a Department of Justice call center, as well as two websites maintained by DOJ and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“In cases involving hundreds of potential victims, the burdens imposed by the act are simply overwhelming,” U.S. Attorneys said in their motion. “Neither the government nor the court has the resources to accord all of the victims in this case all of the rights prescribed in [the act.].”
Federal law does allow for alternative notification procedures when the court finds the requirements to be impracticable, their motion said.
If the motion is granted, the call center would provide details on court events, and information about the charges filed, the custody status of each defendant and any sentence imposed.
Court documents and press releases could be accessed on the two websites.
Investors will be given their own Victim Identification Number and a Personal Identification Number enabling them to access the DOJ website.
Also on Monday, a federal magistrate granted Durham’s release from a halfway house after the indicted financier produced a more thorough accounting of his finances.
Magistrate Kennard Foster, unsatisfied with Durham’s financial disclosures, ordered him on April 6 to a halfway house at 611 N. Capitol Ave. in Indianapolis operated by Volunteers of America of Indiana Inc.
Durham produced a 20-page statement that met Foster’s approval. The document is sealed to the public.
More of IBJ's coverage of Tim Durham and Fair Finance can be found here.