Fair Finance’s Tim Durham may soon be trading his once-lavish lifestyle of mansions and expensive cars for prison garb and a 6×8-foot prison cell. Durham was found guilty on June 20 of 10 counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, all felonies.
Durham and two other Fair Finance executives – James F. Cochran and Rick Snow – were convicted by a federal jury of conning 5,000 investors out of more than $200 million. All three men could spend the rest of their lives in prison and pay $250,000 in fines. Cochran and Snow were found guilty on eight and five counts, respectively.
United States Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett told reporters that the guilty verdict sends a powerful message to those who would “sacrifice truth in the name of greed,” adding that, “no matter who you are, no matter how much money you have, no matter how powerful your friends may be, in a free society no one is above the law.”
Federal investigators raided Durham’s downtown Indianapolis headquarters in November 2009 and seized business records on Fair Finance. Among other allegations, investigators said that Durham and his partners used Fair Finance as their own personal private bank, taking investors’ money to pay for Durham’s high-end lifestyle, which included several mansions, a luxury car collection, boats, trips and over-the-top parties.
During the seven-day federal trial, prosecutors presented jurors with reams of evidence to back up their claims, including business records, transcripts and the actual recording of telephone calls and emails documenting what they say was an elaborate Ponzi scheme.
As reported June 20 by the Indianapolis Star, Durham seemed to gasp as the first guilty verdict was revealed. He, Cochran and Snow were then placed in handcuffs and led away by U.S. marshals to the Marion County Jail.
Durham alone could face a maximum of 225 years in prison.