Five thousand victims, 50 years in prison. That’s what it came down to when a federal judge sentenced Indianapolis businessman and owner of Ohio-based Fair Finance Tim Durham to 50 years in prison for swindling investors out of $250 million.
Durham was convicted of using investors’ life savings to fund his own lavish lifestyle, which consisted of classic cars, mansions in California and Indiana, luxury gambling trips and other extravagant items. On Nov. 30, Durham and the judge responsible for determining his fate heard from several former clients who once trusted Durham with their life savings.
U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson received more than 1,000 letters from investors of Fair Finance. One of the investors was Jane Kalina, who told the court that her father had invested everything with Durham’s company – only to lose his life savings of $170,000.
“My father’s been a farmer for many, many years and as soon as he had his farm paid off, he started investing in Fair Finance. When he sold the farm, he put some of that money in, too. Basically this is his life savings. He’s been devastated. He has no retirement, no 401(k) and this is his life savings for him and my mother,” said Kalina.
Then there’s 74-year-old Barbara Lukacik, an Ohio nun who lost more than $125,000 to Durham’s scam.
In speaking to the court, the 74-year-old looked Durham squarely in the face and said: “Shame on you!”
Two of Durham’s co-conspirators also learned their fate on Nov. 30. Fair Finance co-owner James Cochran was sentenced to 25 years in prison, while Rick Snow was sentenced to 10.
“Mr. Durham will never spend another day of his life in anything other than a federal prison,” said Joe Hogsett, U.S attorney, following Friday’s hearing.