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Indy lawyer pays $371,000 to settle Fair Finance lawsuit

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Fair Finance Co.’s bankruptcy trustee has reached a $371,000 settlement with Stephen Plopper, an Indianapolis attorney accused of defaulting on a 2003 loan from the Tim Durham-owned business.

Trustee Brian Bash sued Plopper and his wife, Linda, in February, saying the couple failed to pay off a $250,000 loan that matured in 2006. Accrued interest pushed the amount owed past $370,000, according to the lawsuit.

Rather than contest the suit, the Ploppers agreed to pay the full amount owed, a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio shows. The deal represents a rare victory for Bash, who has struggled to recover money for the more than 5,200 Ohio investors who purchased unsecured investment certificates from Fair. The investors are owed more than $230 million.

Money collected so far will help cover the cost of Bash’s legal effort.

In a recent posting on the Fair Finance trustee’s website, Bash wrote: “I cannot be certain there will be any recovery, and I would be very surprised if the recovery approached twenty-five percent.”

Stephen Plopper served as secretary of Fair Holdings, parent of the Akron-based finance firm. He formerly operated his law practice out of the top floor of the Chase Tower in downtown Indianapolis, sharing space with Durham.

Plopper is among more than a dozen Durham associates who received loans from Fair after Durham and fellow Indianapolis businessman Jim Cochran bought the business in 2002.

In January, the trustee sued Durham's sister, Dana Osler, and her husband, Jeffrey Osler, charging they defaulted on a company loan and now owe $1.2 million. Jeffrey Osler served as executive vice president and a board member of Obsidian Enterprises Inc., Durham’s Indianapolis-based buyout company.

A federal grand jury this month indicted Durham, Cochran and Fair’s chief financial officer, Rick Snow, on 12 felony counts. The indictment alleges the trio worked together to devise and execute a scheme to defraud purchasers of Fair’s investment certificates.

Authorities say company executives doled out related-party loans with abandon, stripping Fair of its ability to repay investors.

Attorneys for the defendants have denied wrongdoing or have declined to comment.

More coverage of the Fair Finance fraud investigation can be found here.

This story originally ran in the March 31, 2011, IBJ Daily.
 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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