The prominent Indianapolis businessman accused of bilking investors out of $200 million will not testify at his trial.
Tim Durham's attorneys called one witness, an accountant who prepared a report on Durham's companies in 2005, before resting their case Tuesday morning.
Christopher Hirschfeld, who formerly worked for Indianapolis-based Goelzer Investment Management, said he prepared a financial report on Durham's Obsidian Enterprises and its five subsidiaries in 2005 as part of a move to take the publicly held company private.
He said figures provided by Durham's accountant, Rick D. Snow, projected the companies would make profits in the hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few years. Durham, Snow, and Durham's business partner James F. Cochran each face 12 counts of wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud.
But federal prosecutor Nicholas Surmacz pointed out during cross-examination that the companies actually posted million-dollar losses or more, and one even went out of business. The Obsidian companies, he said, relied on "regular infusions of cash from Fair Finance just to survive."
Defense attorneys have blamed the businesses' downfall on the recession. Hirschfeld testified under questioning by Snow's attorney that no one foresaw the economic downturn of 2008, but he also acknowledged when questioned by the prosecutor that the losses began years before the recession.
Cochran's attorney, William Dazey, reminded jurors that his client was presumed innocent until proven guilty and introduced more than 50 emails and documents that he said he wanted them to review with that in mind.
Durham's attorney has maintained that Durham made some bad business decisions but didn't commit fraud, RTV6's Rafael Sanchez reported.
"We don't think the government's case was strong enough to warrant a response," said attorney John Tompkins.
The government rested its case Monday after presenting evidence from accountants and wiretaps that they said showed the businessmen used money from Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance to pay for their failed businesses and lavish lifestyles that included a Playboy party, classic cars and private jets.
Investors testified about losing their life savings in what prosecutors called a Ponzi scheme.
Closing arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys are scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, and Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson said deliberations would likely begin Wednesday morning.
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