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Jury begins deliberations in Durham fraud trial

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The jury began deliberations Wednesday morning in the federal fraud trial of financier Tim Durham and two co-defendants.

U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson at 9:50 a.m. finished reading jury instructions on the 12-count indictment against Durham and co-defendants Jim Cochran and Rick Snow, and turned over the case to the panel of 12 jurors and four alternates.

The judge told two of the alternates they were free to go home, but told them they could stay if they want to observe deliberations. Only the 12 jurors are allowed to offer opinions and discuss the case.

The group will be sequestered during deliberations, eating meals at the federal courthouse until they reach a verdict. The court also arranged rooms at an undisclosed hotel in case the jury is not on pace to reach its verdict by Wednesday evening, Magnus-Stinson noted.

Attorneys for the prosecution and defense offered their closing arguments Tuesday afternoon, a few hours after defense attorneys for the three defendants rested. The trial began June 11 in U.S. District Court.

The defense presentations lasted less than two hours and did not include testimony from Durham or his co-defendants. The U.S. Attorney's Office offered six days of testimony, thousands of pages of documents and recordings from FBI wiretaps as it tried to convince jurors that the defendants ran Ohio-based Fair Finance as a Ponzi scheme, defrauding investors of more than $200 million.

Durham, Cochran and Snow are facing 10 counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud. If convicted, they face decades in prison and steep fines.

To catch up on IBJ's coverage of Fair Finance and Tim Durham, click here. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow @PropertyLines and @IBJNews on Twitter.

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