Judge nearly sends Durham back to halfway house

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Indicted financier Tim Durham's request to move back into his 20,000-square-foot Geist mansion isn't sitting well with Magistrate Judge Kennard Foster, who at a Friday afternoon hearing nearly ordered him to live instead in downtown Indianapolis halfway house.

Durham has been living on home detention at his sister's house since shortly after his April arrest on 12 felony counts stemming from the collapse of Fair Finance Co., the Akron, Ohio, firm he's accused of looting.

In a sealed motion, he recently asked for permission to move back into his mansion. According to an objection filed by federal prosecutors, Durham made the request because his sister was concerned for her safety because of threats made against Durham.

Durham's attorney, John Tompkins, said at Friday's hearing that the FBI had checked out the threats that led to Durham's motion and found them not to be serious. As a result, Tompkins suggested that Durham either continue living with his sister, move to the mansion or work with the Probation Department to identify a mutually agreeable third option.

But Foster noted that both his sister's house and his mansion were in foreclosure and that alone "is a good reason for Mr. Durham not to be there." He said the Volunteers of America halfway house where he lived for five days after his arrest would provide an environment that protected Durham's safety.

"I don't want him at the current location. So in the interim he's going to be at VOA," Foster said.

Tompkins pursuaded Foster to give him 72 hours to work with the Probation Department on a new place for Durham to live. Under Foster's order, if Durham and the Probation Department haven't come up with a location when the 72 hours expire, Durham will live at the VOA.

Prosecutors also had objected to allowing Durham to live in his mansion. In a court filing, they argued that allowing Durham to live in a house built partly with Fair Finance Co. investor money is “tantamount to letting him enjoy the fruits of his crime, as alleged by the grand jury.”

A 23-page grand jury indictment alleges Durham and business partner James F. Cochran worked with former Fair Finance Chief Financial Officer Rick D. Snow to devise and execute a scheme to defraud Fair's investors.

Authorities say that after Durham bought Fair in 2002, he doled out related-party loans with abandon, leaving the company unable to repay Ohio residents who purchased unsecured investment certificates boasting interest rates as high as 9.5 percent. More than 5,200 investors are owed more than $230 million.

Durham, Cochran and Snow have denied wrongdoing.

Durham attending Friday's hearing but did not speak publicly.

Last month, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson denied Durham’s request to relax restrictions of his home detention. He had asked the court to modify the conditions of his release to visit his attorney’s office more frequently and to travel to California up to 12 days a month.

Durham is acting CEO of National Lampoon Inc. in Los Angeles.

More of IBJ's coverage of Durham and Fair Finance can be found here.


  • Where is his money coming from
    Timmy, how much money do you have stashed away, out of the country where no one else can find it. How are you paying for the cleaning lady that came to your sister's house to do your laundry, Pea Pods for the food that was being delivered and all the new computer equipment that you purchased? Now really, am I the only person that finds this so amazing? Where do you have your money hidden?
  • Here's an idea
    I think that the investors who got screwed by Durham should file requests to move into his mansion. Their money bought it, right?
  • Unbelievable
    Durham's gall knows no limits. The nerve to ask to move back into a $5 million house you haven't paid for. It's in foreclosure Tim! And you have NO MONEY cuz everything you have now or earn in the future goes to pay off that $200M you owe to Fair (everything above $200M you can keep). Did you really think the judge would say "sure, go ahead"? These people are not the suck-ups you've gotten used to hanging around. Time to face reality
    • Nice site to find things about people
      Infractions in August are not as bad condidering what might be in the future. Remember innocent until proven gulity.


      • whose idea?
        Just out of curiosity, whose idea was it for Durham to stay with his sister? Now that that has not worked, his other idea (actually his original idea) is to go back to the mansion where he had that great birthday party with all of the playboy bunnies. Geez!
      • Karma
        Karma is great. If he doesn't go to the halfway house, what are his options? I'm sure he has no money hidden to rent a house???? Yeah right!
      • thoughts
        I'd like to see Judge Foster ask Mr. Tomkins, an "officer of the court" UNDER OATH about his shenanigan of allegedly driving over back in 2009, right after Greg Andrews busted the news on Durham, to meet with the editor of the Amish newspaper, the Budget, and tell her oh, no, Tim is not a crook! He has a new office opening right here in Amish Country's Millersburg, Ohio where your readers will be very safe and can entrust their money to him! You know the big, bad government and that awful Greg Andrews just have it out for men like Tim who want to help the Amish!

        Remember that, JT? I do and so does Beverly Keller, the woman you drove over to meet. All of you should be in prison for perpetuating this heinous crime. And for you to waste the time of Judge Foster, whining that your client should be returned to a foreclosed mansion that he has you up in Hamilton County fighting off eviction, for your gall to even waste the court's time is astonishing. If only attorneys who knowingly file vexatious motions were finally put into jail cells themselves.....

        and on that note...8 years for $1M.....Hopefully life for $227M

        Hedge fund fraudster Robert Sucarato may spend more time behind bars than he bargained for when he pleaded guilty in January.
        Sucarato’s sentencing for defrauding investors of $1.6 million has been postponed until October—because the New Jersey federal judge overseeing the case is mulling extra time in the pokey for the New York Financial Co. founder. Federal sentencing guidelines call for between six-and-a-half and eight years in prison, but “the court was contemplating sentencing above the advisory guideline range,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey told HedgeFund.net.
        As a result, Sucarato’s defense team has been given time to “respond to the court’s contemplation.”
        Sucarato was arrested in April, accused of lying to investors about, well, just about everything. He allegedly told investors his hedge fund managed $7.2 billion when, in fact, its accounts had just $110,000. He allegedly claimed to have a degree from New York University, when he didn't, and, for good measure, allegedly "embellished biographies" of the firm's other executives. He also allegedly boasted of offices in New York and Chicago which did not exist.
        Prosecutors said of the $1.7 million NYFC raised, Sucarato stole almost $500,000, lost another $850,000 and used the rest to prop up his Ponzi scheme.
        Sucarato was to be sentenced on Wednesday, but will now learn his fate on Oct. 11.
      • He is a criminal.
        No criminal should be able to manipulate the system and
        go back to "wait" in a 20,000 sq. foot mansion which was
        purchased with other people's money!
      • Where should he live
        Love it...maybe he can stay with Brizzi, at least when he is not with "Mitch." They can have shared custody.
      • Safe???
        He would be safe in jail!!
      • Besides, why should he have so much comfort?
        The half way house is ideal.
      • No Vacancy
        Sorry, the Probation Department is closed this weekend, however, they have vacancies in the Pendleton & Terre Haute federal prisons if the Volunteers of America halfway house is full.

        Hope that helps

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