IBJNews

Judge refuses to unseal Fair Finance search warrants

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A federal judge in Ohio on Tuesday rejected a motion filed by IBJ and other newspapers seeking to unseal search warrant documents related to the federal criminal investigation of Indianapolis businessman Tim Durham and Akron-based Fair Finance Co.

IBJ, The Wall Street Journal, The Akron Beacon Journal and The Indianapolis Star late last year launched the court battle to unseal the documents. They argued that making them public would provide “transparency” to Fair’s investors and was justified under the First Amendment and common law.

But in a nine-page opinion, Judge Sara Lioi of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ruled the right of access to search warrant records connected with an ongoing investigation is “not absolute” and was not justified in this case.

“In view of the fact that the government’s investigation is ongoing, unsealing the relevant records, especially the detailed affidavit in support of the search warrant ... would reveal a virtual ‘road map’ of the government’s investigation, investigative techniques and the information derived therefrom, the identities of sources and potential targets of the investigation, and an impression (possibly mistaken) concerning who may or may not be cooperating with the government,” she wrote.

The probe has been public since Nov. 24, when FBI agents executed search warrants at Durham’s Indianapolis office and at Fair’s headquarters. Agents hauled away computer equipment and bankers boxes full of documents. Fair never reopened after the raid, and now is in bankruptcy liquidation.

Court papers filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis on Nov. 24 allege Fair operated as 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 raids occurred one month after IBJ published an investigative story that raised questions about whether Fair had the financial wherewithal to repay Ohio investors who had purchased more than $200 million in unsecured investment certificates.

The story reported that, since Durham bought the consumer-loan business in 2002, he had used it almost like a personal bank to fund a range of business interests, many of them unsuccessful. The story noted that he and related parties owe Fair more than $168 million.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • re
    I don't think this judge is covering up anything. I think she is right protecting the warrants so justice can be served.
  • Special Interests
    Wonder whose special interests this judge is covering up for?
  • Clues
    I heard Judge Sara was caught laughing in chambers. Among items found on the search list was:

    "Identify one man besides Tim Durham in the group of crooks who is taller than 5'7."

    Clouseau: Now, this time *I'm* going to stand on *your* shoulders!

    Carl: What good will that do?

    Clouseau: Because I'm taller than you are, you are, you fool!

    PS, None of this is funny, Carlito. Stealing from the elderly does not bode well for a future career in anything except cleaning toilets. Make sure you let your buddies know that the next time you saunter out to L.A. or use that secret phone you think no one knows about.

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 never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

ADVERTISEMENT