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Durham to Remain Behind Bars

Tim Durham, the so-called “Madoff of the Midwest” and the Indianapolis businessman accused of swindling 5,000 Fair Finance investors out of more than $200 million, has been denied a pre-sentencing release by U.S. District Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.

Instead, Durham will remain in prison until his formal sentencing. Judge Magnus-Stinson announced her ruling earlier today, noting that Durham is considered a flight risk because of the life sentence he faces.

Durham was convicted of 12 felony fraud charges on June 20 in connection to a Ponzi scheme to defraud investors of Ohio-based Fair Finance. Prosecutors say Durham and fellow Fair Finance business associates James Cochran and Rick Snow used investors’ money to make personal loans to themselves and buy luxury mansions, fancy cars and other extravagant items.

Like Durham, Cochran also will remain in jail until his sentencing. Snow was placed on home detention.

A sentencing hearing is expected to take place within the next 90 days. 

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett, whose office is handling the Durham case, says he plans to seek life-in-prison terms for Durham.

“It is our continued hope that through these convictions, and the historic sentences we plan to seek, we will be able to bring some measure of justice to the thousands of victims of these criminal acts,” said Hogsett in a statement.

As reported June 25 by the Indianapolis Business Journal, Judge Magnus-Stinson apparently scoffed at a suggestion from John Tompkins, Durham’s defense attorney, to require a higher bond for Durham and in exchange allow him to maintain an office so he could help “find” money to pay back Fair Finance investors.

Prominent Indianapolis businessman and Durham’s former father-in-law Beurt SerVaas had previously guaranteed $1 million to bond Durham out of federal detention last year. Judge Magnus-Stinson suggested that the assets of the bond could have been “put up with Fair money in the first place” based on some of the insider loans Fair Finance had made to Durham and his family and friends.

The judge further said that the jury’s verdict sends a message that Durham has “no respect for other people’s money,” according to the IBJ article.



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