IBJNews

Durham lawyer balks at proposed 225-year sentence

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The attorney for convicted Ponzi schemer Tim Durham is howling in protest at a presentencing report that recommends the Indianapolis financier spend around 225 years in prison and be ordered to pay $209 million in restitution.

The report is not public, but Durham’s attorney, John Tompkins, revealed its contents in a 38-page filing Wednesday that called the harshness of the proposed sentence “absurd.”

Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson is scheduled to sentence Durham, 50, and co-defendants Jim Cochran and Rick Snow on Nov. 30. A federal jury in June found Durham guilty on all 12 felony charges stemming from the collapse of Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co.

Durham co-owned Fair with Indianapolis businessman Jim Cochran, who was convicted on eight of 12 felony charges. Snow, the company’s chief financial officer, was convicted on five of 12 counts.

Prosecutors charged that after Durham and Cochran bought the business in 2002, they raided its coffers to fund their lavish lifestyles and to cover losses at failing businesses they owned.

The huge withdrawals—which were recorded as loans but were not repaid—left Fair without the means to repay 5,000 Ohio residents who purchased more than $200 million of the company's unsecured investment certificates, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed in March 2011.

Judges have final say on sentencings but typically rely on presentencing reports, which are prepared by federal probation employees. Prosecutors did not lodge an objection to the report by Wednesday's deadline.

Tompkins’ objection argued that the report miscalculates the losses suffered by investors, includes a range of allegations that weren’t proven at trial and blames Durham for events outside his control.

Fair shut down in November 2009, following a surprise raid of the company’s offices by FBI agents. A month earlier, IBJ had published an investigative story that questioned whether the insider loans imperiled the company’s ability to repay investors.

“The FBI’s decision to raid Fair Finance’s offices, seize records and just walk away leaving fear and panic  … caused the disintegration of a company that employed approximately 75 employees, and held hundreds of millions of dollars in assets,” Tompkins said in his filing.

Court records don’t say what prison terms presentencing reports recommend for Cochran and Snow. Snow’s attorney did not object to the report. A recently appointed public defender representing Cochran was granted more time to decide whether to object.

Prosecutors made available hours of wiretapped conversations between Durham and Cochran, as they scrambled to keep Fair afloat. IBJ collected some key exchanges in a series of edited recordings. In the conversation below, from Nov. 24, 2009, Cochran and Durham briefly discuss the possibility they could serve jail time.

 

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Tim Durham's death sentence?
    I could not agree with you more. 225 years for being a con-artist? There are people who committed much worse crimes who don't spend their life in prison.
  • Tompkins!!????????
    Millions of dollars in assets, then where are they and how is it the Trustee can't find them. How much did Obsidian owe 30MM++ and had one company that was actually making money (United)and couldn't pay back it's loan in a hundred years. What about all the "assets" that were being carried on the books as loans for companies that were closed for many years. The fact is this ship was sinking for years and Captain Timmy was at the helm.
  • Prison for Non-violent Criminals
    Putting Tim in prison is a complete waste of our tax dollars. The man should go back to work and be monitored/put on probation, etc. but be required to work and pay back some of the lost money. We are paying too much for non-violent criminals to be housed, fed and educated on our tax dollars. Instead, why not create a few more jobs by adding monitors for the non-violent offenders? He should work the rest of his life - not lounge around in a white collar prison playing tennis and eating bon-bons all day!
    • What else is there to say
      Well done Mikey - you summed up the life of Durham perfectly. Rot in jail Timmy

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

    2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

    3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

    4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

    5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

    ADVERTISEMENT