Indianapolis businessman Tim Durham sentenced to 50 years in prison for taking millions

Durham: It's a tragedy for everybody

INDIANAPOLIS - Tim Durham has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for bilking investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars in what the judge called effectively a life sentence.

Durham, who was convicted on 12 counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud, had asked for a five-year sentence, while prosecutors had asked for 225 years.

Judge Jane Magnus Stinson told Durham she characterized his case with three words -- deceit, greed and arrogance -- and said she found he showed "no sincere remorse."

She said a 225-year sentence was unrealistic, but she gave him what amounts to a life sentence, which she said she does not take lightly.

"Justice was finally done," said U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett. "With this decision, which happens to be the longest white-collar fraud sentence in Indiana history, it is my hope that these victims can now begin the long and difficult process in finding peace and faith and trust once more."

The judge later sentenced Durham's associate, Jim Cochran, to 25 years in prison and Rick Snow to 10 years.

Durham spoke before the court for about five minutes before the sentencing.

"I feel terrible they all lost money. My family has lost all of its investments," Durham told the court . "I feel very badly for all the people here today."

Victims of the men's crimes spoke for more than two hours Friday morning, detailing how the men stole their life savings.

"We don't want revenge," said Janey Kalina, whose family lost thousands of dollars after investing in the now-bankrupt Fair Finance. "Revenge stays in your heart. We want justice."

Meanwhile, Durham was depending on the words of friends and family to keep him from spending the rest of his life in prison.

In a letter to the judge, Durham's mother called the case a "terrible misunderstanding," saying her son "isn't the type of person who would try to steal from people."

Nine other people wrote letters on Durham's behalf, including several of his cousins who describe him as gentle, loving, charitable and unselfish.

"Tim is not the man the media is making him out to be. The media has made him a monster," one cousin wrote.

"I am hoping you will help give Tim the chance to make a wrong situation right again," another cousin wrote.

Federal judge Jane Magnus Stinson received letters supporting Rick Snow, the former chief financial officer of the now-bankrupt Ohio-based Fair Finance, who was facing as much as 85 years in prison.

His friends and family describe him as a loving father, a person of faith, a go-getter and hard worker.

"Rick has been a model citizen till the government came in and ruined his life," his mother wrote.

"(Rick got) caught up in this deceitful and immoral scheme, and he became a trapped fall guy," one friend wrote.

His daughter, who is in high school, made a personal plea.

"The thought of being at graduation and looking up to not see my father sitting there is heartbreaking to me," she wrote.

Barbara Lukacik, a former nun who lost $120,000 in the scheme, didn't buy any of the families' excuses, but she's also not holding onto a grudge.

 

In the courtroom, Lukacik turned to the three men and said she'd forgiven them, but added, "Shame on you."

"I forgave them," she said. "That's the right thing to do."

Durham's son, Tim Durham Jr., said the family plans to appeal the decision.

"Everything that happened with the investors is terrible. We feel very bad for all of them," he said. "But we still maintain his innocence. We intend to appeal, and we're very excited to get to Chicago, where we'll feel like we have more of a fair chance."

Defense attorney Marty Solomon said the chances of the ruling being overturned are slim.

"In all honesty, Mr. Durham would have a better chance of winning the $500 million lottery than he will be succeeding on an appeal," Solomon said. "The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago rarely overturns a criminal conviction of this type."

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