IBJNews

Fair Finance offices fail to reopen

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Fair Finance Co. failed to reopen its offices as scheduled Monday morning, adding to the anxiety of Ohioans who have purchased about $200 million of the company’s investment certificates.

The headquarters and branch offices of Akron, Ohio-based Fair were closed all of last week in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday, according to company voice-mail message. That message said offices were to reopen Monday, but callers Monday morning continue to hear the outdated recording. The Akron Beacon Journal said a sign posted at the headquarters said the business was closed due to "unforeseen circumstances."

The future of the business has been uncertain since FBI agents on Nov. 24 executed search warrants and seized records and computer equipment at Fair and at the Indianapolis offices of Tim Durham, co-owner of the business.

The raid came one month after IBJ published an investigative story questioning whether Fair, which purchases customer-finance contracts from retailers and other firms, had the financial wherewithal to repay purchasers of its investment certificates. The company was allowed to sell the certificates—which range from six months to two years—only to Ohio residents.

The IBJ story 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 he and related parties owed Fair more than $168 million.

John Tompkins, an attorney for Durham, said this morning that he would have no comment on whether Fair would reopen or on other issues “until we know more about what is going on with the federal investigation.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis on Nov. 24 filed court papers alleging Durham committed fraud and seeking forfeiture of his property, including his 30,000-square-foot Geist mansion, a home in Los Angeles and his 2008 Bugatti sports car.

The civil forfeiture action alleged Durham, his associates and his companies misled purchasers of investment certificates by telling them their money would go toward purchasing low-risk consumer loans.

In fact, court papers allege, the money went to carry out a Ponzi scheme, using money from new investors to pay what it owed prior investors, thereby “lulling the earlier victims into believing that their money was being [handled] responsibly.”

The government filed the case to ensure “these assets were not dissipated,” Tim Morrison, the U.S. attorney in Indianapolis, told IBJ this morning, but dismissed the case this morning. “Having the appropriate assurance they are not being dissipated, that litigation stopped,” said Morrison, who declined to say who provided that assurance.

Even if Fair Finance had reopened today, investors probably would not have been able to withdraw money. The company has been exercising its right to delay repaying principal on certificates that mature for 60 days. It also has been refusing to allow investors to cash in certificates before they mature.

Prior to 2003, the company had been “liberal in providing early redemptions if the investor had a need for the funds,” according to a letter an attorney for the company sent state regulators that year disclosing that it was changing that policy.

Now, the company takes the position that it is required to redeem certificates early only if the purchaser dies, though it reserves the right to make exceptions for other reasons.

Fair has not been permitted to sell new investment certificates since Nov. 24, when its previous securities registration expired. Fair has sought a new registration, but the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Securities has not acted on that request.





 

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • What now?
    I have a loan with this company and since all of this has happened they havent been requesting any more payments from me on this account. After the FBI has been involved, I dont want to pay this company another nickel. Their phone number doesnt work and I have received nothing by mail. What do I do? Any thoughts?
  • asset seizure
    Why wouldn't you go after all his assets when he has taken from the average person. How are they to get their money back?
  • dismissed
    Why would you dismiss the case are you nuts?
  • help me
    Oh, my god. I have reinvested for years and felt so...comfortable with the company. Now I have just about everything invested with them. What am I going to do now as a senior citizen?
  • ?
    I want my money back! He better be able to pay back the Ohio investors. Sell his damn sports car and house!
  • Not exactly
    Morrision just filed a motion to stop the asset seizure, the judge has not ruled on it.

    Ohio is not approving any more offerings, nore are they obligated to. Durham did offerings of $1.5 BILLION since 2001--Fair Finance did about $28M last year in revenues with a loss of $1.8M--and Durham raised almost 10 times that in certificates. He's had his chance, now it's time for him to pay all the money back.

    He can prove everyone wrong by simply paying the "loans" back immediately, and Morrison is giving him the opportunity to do so.
    • dismissed
      DID I JUST READ THAT PART OF THIS CASE HAS BEEN DIMISSED???

      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. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

      2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

      3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

      4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

      5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

      ADVERTISEMENT