Ohio lawmaker wants Fair Finance owners' assets frozen

January 15, 2010

An Ohio congressman is upset the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis isn’t seeking to freeze the assets of Fair Finance Co. owners Tim Durham and Jim Cochran.

U.S. Rep. John Boccieri sent a letter Thursday to U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison expressing concern over an estate sale apparently being conducted at a multimillion-dollar home owned by Cochran in Naples, Fla.

An ad running on Craigslist says the sale runs from today through Sunday at 298 Mooring Line Drive, a home listed in public records as belonging to Cochran and his wife. A phone message left at the home was not returned, and an attorney for Cochran could not be reached Friday afternoon.

Boccieri expressed concern in a statement Friday that assets that could go toward repaying Fair Finance investors might disappear.

“Given the increased amount of concerns relayed to me by my constituents, including stories of life savings lost, retirement funds decimated, college savings and more ruined by the alleged wrongdoing of the Fair Finance Co., I continue to implore your office to take all necessary and immediate action to freeze the assets” of Fair, Durham and Cochran, Boccieri said.

This is the second time Boccieri has asked Morrison to freeze assets while federal probes continue into whether company insiders committed securities fraud. He made his first request late last month.

Akron, Ohio-based Fair has been closed since Nov. 24, the date FBI agents raided the company’s headquarters and seized records and computer equipment. The raid occurred one month after IBJ reported that Durham and Cochran had used Fair almost like a personal bank to fund a range of business interests, some of them unsuccessful.

Durham, Cochran and related parties now have more than $168 million in insider loans outstanding, according to filings with Ohio regulators. IBJ reported in October that the massive loans cast doubt on whether Fair has the financial wherewithal to repay Ohio residents who purchased about $200 million of Fair’s investment certificates.

Morrison on Friday afternoon said he forwarded Boccieri's letter to the Department of Justice in Washington, as is the protocol for such correspondence. He provided no additional comment. 

His office had filed a civil lawsuit Nov. 24 seeking to freeze Durham’s assets but dropped it six days later. “Having [received] appropriate assurance [assets] are not being dissipated, that litigation stopped,” Morrison said at the time. He would not elaborate.

Asked on Thursday whether he was concerned about assets disappearing, Morrison said, “You always have a concern, but I just can’t make any comment.”

The Craigslist ad listed a wide range of possessions included in the sale. Those included a 28-foot boat, living room and dining room furniture and appliances. An attendee at the event reported that Bentley and Porsche automobiles also changed hands.


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