A federal jury found Indianapolis businessman Tim Durham guilty on all 12 counts in an investment fraud case that bilked thousands of elderly investors out of more than $200 million.
Durham was found guilty of securities fraud, conspiracy and 10 counts of wire fraud. His business partners, James Cochran and accountant Rick Snow, also were convicted of conspiracy and securities fraud and some wire fraud counts.
Deputy U.S. Attorney Winfield Ong said the evidence showed that Durham and his partners raided Fair Finance to enrich themselves and their friends and to prop up Durham's other struggling businesses.
Durham's defense attorney, John Tompkins, insisted the men simply made bad business decisions in the midst of the bewildering economic crisis of 2008. He said prosecutors presented isolated facts to make it appear that Durham was guilty of fraud when no fraud actually occurred.
Before the case was given to the jury, Tompkins asked for a mistrial based on statements made by an attorney representing Durham's partner, who said he believed that fraud had been committed.
The request was denied, but it sets up grounds for an appeal, RTV6s Rafael Sanchez reported.
Durham did not testify at the trial.
Following the verdict, Durham, Cochran and Snow were taken to the Marion County Jail in custody of U.S. Marshals, officials said.
Federal prosecutors called the three defendants flight risks because of the severity of the charges and potential lengthy prison sentences.
Durham alone could face a maximum of 225 years in prison.
No matter who you are, no matter how much money you have, no matter how powerful your friends are, in a free society, no one is above the law, U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said in a statement. The decision made in this courtroom (Wednesday) sends a powerful warning that if you sacrifice truth in the name of greed, if you steal from another's effort to carve out the American dream to enhance your own, you will be caught."
Investor Jim Erne said he lost $100,000 to the trios scheme.
"I was personally hurt by their actions and there were many other victims, also. Im happy they got what was coming to them, Erne said.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer also weighed in on Durhams conviction.
Mr. Durham and his co-conspirators used lies and deceit as their business model, Breuer said. They duped investors into thinking they were running a legitimate financial services company and misled regulators and others about the health of their failing firm. But all along, they were lining their pockets with other peoples money. (Wednesday) the jury held them accountable for their crimes, and they each now face the prospect of significant prison time.
All three defendants were detained pending a detention hearing Monday.
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