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Durham asks court for 5-year sentence

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Convicted Ponzi schemer Tim Durham is requesting a much shorter prison stay than the life sentence federal prosecutors want him to serve.

Durham, set to be sentenced Friday on fraud charges related to the collapse of Fair Finance Co., is asking for a five-year sentence that would include three years in prison followed by two years of home confinement.

Durham made the request in a lengthy, 60-page federal court filing Monday in which his lawyer, John Tompkins, asks Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson to carefully review the filing, because Durham’s “freedom, for the rest of his life, is at stake.”

A grand jury in March 2011 indicted Durham, business associate James Cochran and former Fair Finance Chief Financial Officer Rick Snow on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud.

A jury convicted Durham on all charges and Cochran and Snow on some charges in June. All three are scheduled to be sentenced Friday.

According to Tomkins, a presentencing report is asking that Durham be sentenced to 225 years in prison and ordered to pay $209 million in restitution.

In his filing, Tomkins called the recommendation "absurd" and said the presentencing report "is heavily influenced by an erroneous loss calculation under the advisory guidelines."

"There is no need to incapacitate Mr. Durham beyond [five years] to prevent him from committing further crimes, given his extraordinarily low risk of recidivism, or to deter others from similar conduct," the filing said.

Durham and Cochran bought Akron, Ohio-based Fair in a 2002 leveraged buyout. According to court documents, Durham drained tens of millions from the company by making loans to himself and failing businesses he owned. Millions also went toward Durham’s mansions, a yacht, part ownership of an airplane and extravagant gambling trips.

In the years after Durham and Cochran bought Fair, the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Securities repeatedly allowed the company to sell additional unsecured investment certificates to as many as 5,000 Ohioans. The sales continued even after Durham drained the firm of more than $100 million through insider loans — and even after it ceased providing audited financials to the division’s examiner.

In the Monday filing, Tompkins argues that Durham was a law-abiding citizen with no criminal history before the jury returned its guilty verdicts. He was hard-working, deeply involved in his community, and a businessman whose efforts had employed hundreds of people, Tomkins said.

He said Durham never intentionally defrauded the investors, and that actual losses they suffered were brought on by the recession as much as Durham's actions.

“In this case, there is absolutely zero evidence that Mr. Durham subjectively intended any investor to experience a loss, and that’s what the law requires if ‘intended loss’ is to be used for the sentencing calculation,” Tompkins said.

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  1. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  2. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  3. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  4. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  5. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

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