Feds seek seizure of Durham's assets

Greg Andrews
November 28, 2009
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The federal government has filed court papers alleging Indianapolis businessman Tim Durham committed wire 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 was quietly filed in federal court in Indianapolis on Nov. 24—the same day the FBI executed search warrants at Durham’s principal office on the top floor of Chase Tower and at the offices of Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co.

In the complaint, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana alleges Durham, his associates and his companies committed fraud by telling prospective purchasers of Fair Finance investment certificates that the money would go toward purchasing low-risk consumer loans.

In fact, court papers allege, the money went to, in effect, 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] responsibily.”

The complaint says tens of millions of dollars in Fair Finance funds went to nearly two dozen companies controlled by Durham and Jim Cochran, Fair’s co-owners, as well as to various individuals.

The suit seeks forfeiture of funds held in numerous Durham-controlled bank and investment accounts, in addition to homes and other assets.

John Tompkins, an attorney representing the 47-year-old Durham, was not immediately available for comment.

The forfeiture filing and FBI raids came a 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 Ohio investors who had purchased $197 million in investment certificates.

The story reported that, since Durham bought the business 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.


  • Thank you, Mr. Porter
    Thanks, Mr. Porter for answering my question. As was stated by an earlier post, you were the first person to use the term "Ponzi" on television here.

    Your response to my question, by the way, just proved you don't even know how to define what you've accused Mr. Durham of, since your answer would make every bank in America a Ponzi Scheme.

    WISH just reported that the civil charges against Mr. Durham have been dismissed. Will the IBJ send out a "Breaking News" alert on this the way they did when the charges were filed? Hope so - that would only be "fair."
  • Answer
    Criminal proceedings will follow, be patient, I just hope that someone thinks to refuse any kind of bail as he will be a flight risk .
    Might be the best place for him in jail because he is going to about as popular as a stripper in a mosque in Indianapolis at the moment
  • Ponzi
    Well I belive the correct discription is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to investors from new investors money .
    However, my wording would be the robbing BAR steward was robbing peter to pay paul and dipping his oversized un lipo'ed hands in the till in the middle .
    • Question
      If these are a Ponzi scheme and wire fraud claims, then why is this just a "civil suit"? These are criminal issues and need to be filed as such. Does anyone have any insight?
      • Mr. Porter
        Mr. Porter, you have called this situation a "Ponzi Scheme" in your interviews. Help me understand - exactly what is a Ponzi Scheme? How would you define it?
        • Question for Mr. Porter
          Mr. Porter,

          I read where you said you stayed at Durham's house for several months. Did you ever see Governor Daniels there?
        • Great job, Porter!
          Tim Porter, you are "da man!" You pegged this big time!!!!!!
        • Justice
          Despite all that's written I am not here to gloat, just to see things put right. I was /am a normal small company guy who works hard and plays hard,and have never had and never will have the money had/used by TD nor ever want.
          Durham was always chasing the fame game his rather shallow mind, thought by having as much money as he could he could buy anything including people ,he brought in to my company and wanted to play the big I am,he took money from sponsor's I had brought in and did not return these money's then spent the monies on a playboy mansion party in LA but more to the point he was not man enough to sit down and talk ,he just dissapperared getting the little guy mike reptile to try and deal with it .
          I have been told While what he did to me is small fry compared to the elderly, he and Jim cockran have ripped off in Ohio. Never the less it can make you a little pissed off.
          I watched a pattern unfolding some two years ago it alarmed me.
          I have some very dear friends in Indy who have supported me and believed in what I have said and I truly thank them for that support
          In answer to the question is there a book? soon !!!
          Durham knew this was coming nine months ago ,
          WHY? because I had a meeting with John Thomkins in Harry and Issys last febuary, but knowing Durham,he though he could sweep it all under the carpet again.
          WRONG not this time

          • Rypel
            This is the real Michael Rypel. Just as flashy as Durham. His main picture shows himself with Tim, Carl, and another gentleman.
            • Surprise?
              Why would anyone think this is surprising news if you knew Tim Durham? If you are a self made man....we all know it doesn't come "easy." If you knew Tim, he painted a way better picture than hard work can produce without questions in his lifetime. Who drives a $1 million dollar car and leases it? Who lives in a Geist mansion with pictures of himself characterized on the walls of his home? Who has the car inventory that he had without backing up the dollars? You just have to question people that live like this and don't have the hard cash to back it up!!!
            • UBB
              The outrageous Brit had it right all along!

              Was the first to publicly use the "Ponzi" word on WTHR. Always said Durham was a thief and a very bad person.

              I've heard many a Bella Vita patrons talk about what a fool he was....who's laughing now?

              Nice job Tim! Good luck with the new California venture!
            • Gerry Dick adds to the coverage
              none other than Gerry Dick!!! Whew, never thought I'd see this!

            • Letter to John Tompkins
              Mr. Tompkins, I was reviewing your website and see you are skilled in defending DUIs. And, it appears from this blog that you also handle assault as well as resisting arrest cases (2007 arrest of Tim Durham's partner Jim Cochran, link below.)

              I was wondering, Sir, if you could shed some light on how you might advise your client to start preparing. Undoubtedly you will want a large retainer in advance. Somehow I suspect you really don't care to know the origin of those funds. Of course, if the funds that have been paying your legal fees re TSD and re Jim Cochran's came from a Ponzi, this is America, right? And TSD has a right to the best legal defense, does he not?

              Well, I sure hope you remember to file something that states one of the federal witnesses against your client was allegedly another one of your clients so that TSD can't claim some type of legal screw up later and get off. Ya know, cuz this is America, remember?

              I was reviewing materials on Ponzis and saw this brief Allen Stanford's attorneys filed right around the time he got beaten up in jail. Your client, Sir, is a pussy. Cuz only a pussy would do to elderly, rural Ohio investors what he did. And, pussies don't do well in prison, do they?

            • DC Madam
              Convicted Washington madam found dead

            • Couldn't happen to a nicer guy
            • Current g/f, Shannon and TSDJr
              I ohpe the IRS audits the two girls in this picture to determine exactly how their recent lifestyles have been funded:

            • Also
              Also, Rypel fan, please explain how in the same time frame Frantz bought her house, Durham bought the mansion, Najem bought his mansion, Durham's parents--small town Seymour people with a ROBIN HOOD address (no joke) bought this $675,000 resort home in Bonita Springs, Florida?


              (owner search enter Durham, Charles)
            • Re
              Robocop2, you must be acquainted with this case. Can you please explain to the readers how Shannon went from a rented 1BR apartment to a $700,000 house, Hummer, Mercedes SL and retirement?
            • So???
              Anyone who goes to this link can easily see that this is not the Michael Rypel associated with Tim Durham but another Rypel from Florida.
              • Tim Porter Is A Mensch
                Mr. Porter, you're a gutsy guy for going on record about your suspicions as far back as 2007. So how did it spin out of control so fast?

                Was it his ego? Was it his desire to impress 20 year old bimbo girlfriends? You know what they say about guys who drive fast and expensive cars with long hoods, right? They're trying to make up for other inadequacies.

                How come Morrison waited so long? Was he under stand down orders from Brizzi and/or Daniels to look the other way until it blew up? What about that former ASAC (initials MS) who was in the Indy FBI office? Didn't he know as early as 2005? He's in Newwark now. How come he hasn't come forward? Lack of backbone? Afraid he'll be fired for dereliction of duty?

                Do you plan to write an expose book, Mr. Porter? It would probably sell as well or better than Palin's "Going Rogue." Titles?

                "The Bernie Madoff of Indianapolis"

                "He Should Have Stuck With Joanne, At Least Daddy Had Real Money"

                "Why Tim D. Jr. Prefers Democrats"

                "Ponzi In The Heartland"
                • lease
                  What's left of it, will go back to the lease company, he put $750,000 as a down payment and leased the rest.
                  At least some of the poor people will get some of their life savings back .
                  But the best is yet to come.

                • Destroying cars
                  Can we just take a hammer to that Bugatti of his? I just want to literally see a few hundred grand get demolished.
                  • Rypel

                    • Marcus and Tim
                      Marcus will be out soon because he mainly churned. BIG DIFFERENCE between what Marcus and Durham did. At least Marcus apologized.

                      I hope Durham is charged in Ohio, separate from the federal charges and goes to a state prison. He has left the residents of Ohio in a financial prison--with the ages of some of them probably for the rest of their lives.

                      By the way did everyone see James Francis Cochran, Durham's partner,was arrested for beating up his wife and resisting arrest? I guess he doesn't think he has to answer to any law enforcement person, what with his partner being Brizzi's best bud.

                      • Lemonade
                        Sounds like we will be seeing Tiny Tim and Marcus Schrenker selling lemonade together in about 40 years....
                        • Ride is over!
                          Looks like Mike Rypel will have to get a "real" job now. The ride is over, sorry pal.
                          • hmm..
                            Interesting how bri gets upset with posters for posting personal attacks....only to 'retort' with her own personal attacks on said posters.

                            Just a little hypocritcal....
                          • New US Attorney Needed
                            Anyone think Congressman Boccieri will ask Tim Morrison how long he's been asked to look into this matter other than me?
                          • Re
                            Boy, was the defensive or what. I wasn't retorting at all, just asking if that was the girl you were talking about.
                          • Re
                            Sure is. We have all made some decisions when we were young that don't fit with who we are now. She definitely doesn't want anyone to feel sorry for her. Interesting how your only retort is to again go personal. I wonder how many lonely nights you have visited that site.
                            • Bitter, Jealous, Deficient
                              Ponzi Buster - How much spite, jealousy, anger and inadequacy you must carry through life. Anyone who knows Shannon would know she doesn't have a bitter, hateful or ill willing bone in her body. There are lots of lives caught up in the tangled mess that is evolving, personal attacks against an employee speak volumes about you.

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