Obsidian Enterprises and Fair Financial
Tim Durham had all the toys and mansions that money could buy. Now he’s got even more on his plate: FBI raids on his two companies, Obsidian Enterprises and Fair Financial, and allegations of ties to ghost employment involving two New Castle police officers.
FBI agents raided Durham’s offices in downtown Indianapolis and in northeast Ohio on Nov. 24. So far, investigators are giving few details about the reasons behind their interest in the millionaire, but a story last month in the Indianapolis Business Journal raised questions over whether Durham’s finance company had the funds to repay Ohio investors who bought nearly $200 million in investment certificates. The story went on to say that Durham used the company to fund other business interests.
On Nov. 25, WTHR contacted one of Durham’s former business partners, Tim Porter, who apparently is cooperating with the FBI in its investigation of Durham. According to the story, Porter met Durham in May 2007 and the two became partners. Porter even lived in Durham’s mansion on Geist Reservoir at one time. The two later had a falling out over a business dispute. According to the WTHR story, Porter claims Durham has defrauded Ohio investors in Fair Financial for more $200 million.
“It’s a mini Bernard Madoff. A mini Ponzi scheme. And when you stand back and look at it from the outside in, you can see what they’re doing,” said Porter in the story. ? ?Tim Durham’s rise to riches has been meteoric. Profiled on CNBC in a story called The Rise of the Super Rich, Durham had a passion for fast and collectible cars. He owned more than 70 vehicles, including Rolls-Royces, Ferraris, and Dusenbergs. He also frequently traveled via his own private jet and owned a $6 million to $7 million yacht in Florida. The late Anna Nicole Smith once stayed at Durham’s 30,000-square-foot mansion near Geist Reservoir during the Indianapolis 500.
In addition to FBI investigations of his two companies, Durham’s name is being linked to another scandal involving ghost employment. Last week, Lt. James Heffernan and Patrolman Matthew Patterson, along with Henry County Community Correction Director Doug Sheets were arrested on preliminarily charges of ghost employment, corrupt business influence and official misconduct.
As reported Nov. 25 by WRTV news, Heffernan and Patterson worked part time for Henry County Community Corrections, with Heffernan serving as the assistant director of the facility. Both were hired by Sheets, a retired state police detective.
John Tompkins, who is representing Durham, also is representing Heffernan and Patterson in their case. Durham is connected to the New Castle scandal because the off-duty officers often worked at his home.
According to the WRTV story, Patterson was seen in possession of a Hummer SUV registered in Durham’s name. Meanwhile, court documents in the case indicate that Patterson’s GPS system showed that when he was at Durham’s Geist Reservoir mansion, he claimed on his time sheet that he was checking on people regarding a house arrest.
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