Monday, November 30, 2009

Feds Drop Forfeiture Case Against Durham Less Than One Week After Filing Case

In a bizarre twist in the investigation of Indianapolis business tycoon Tim Durham, the federal government is dropping a forfeiture case it filed just last week accusing him of running a classic Ponzi scheme, telling reporters Durham isn't a risk. WRTV reports:

Federal prosecutors have dropped their effort to seize the assets of Indianapolis businessman Tim Durham.

The U.S. Attorney's Office on Monday withdrew the request to take control of Durham's assets, including his 36,000-square-foot home along Geist Reservoir.

The request was made because investigators don't think Durham is a risk. Federal investigators said Durham ran an investment scheme using one of his companies, Ohio-based Fair Financial.

Investigators had originally sought to seize Durham's assets in Indiana and California in a 10-page civil complaint filed last week.

The complaint accuses Durham and his associates at Akron, Ohio-based Fair Financial of telling investors their money would be invested in low-risk, high-yield short-term consumer debt.
The IBJ's Greg Andrew has this on acting U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison's decision to drop the case:

Tim Morrison, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, said his office had filed the case Nov. 24 to ensure Durham’s assets would not disappear. “Having [received] appropriate assurance they are not being dissipated, that litigation stopped,” said Morrison, who declined to say who provided that assurance.

The short-lived case provided the first public disclosure about the case investigators are trying to build against Durham, 47, the co-owner of Akron. Ohio-based Fair Finance Co. FBI agents on Nov. 24 executed search warrants and seized records and computer equipment at Durham’s office in Chase Tower in Indianapolis and at Fair’s Akron offices, but a bureau spokeswoman would not say what agents were after.

Inquiring minds want to know who intervened with Morrison to reverse the government's action? Interestingly, no attorney filed an appearance on behalf of Durham or his companies before Morrison filed his notice of dismissal today. A federal judge must still rule on the dismissal. The case has been assigned to Judge David Hamilton, who has been in the process of transferring all of his cases to other judges in order to assume his new seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Meanwhile, the Akron Beacon Journal reports that Fair Finance's Ohio offices failed to reopen today. Worried investors gathered outside the Akron office determined to get answers about the status of their money.

17 comments:

varangianguard said...

But, what about the rest of his motley crew? Are they going to be able to liquidaet some properties and spend the proceeds?

Erich said...

Try calling Fair Finance, no answer.

www.fairfinance.com

Tim is innocent until proven guilty. Investors generally are not so patient, after an FBI raid.

Cato said...

Oh

My

God!

This is unprecedented and a huge blow to the integrity of the U.S. Attorney's office.

Does Mitch truly have this much power? Can Obama let Morrison remain in office after embarrassing the administration with either: 1) a hasty and improperly filed complaint or 2) a withdrawal of a validly filed complaint?

artfuggins said...

This should make Brizzi breathe a little easier...

TheVoice said...

It looks like Motsinger took one for the team.It will be interesting to see if Tom John takes one also.

Nice job Mitch, didn't think that you had that in you.Guess that $200K can make a man do silly things. I thought that you were above making that phone call.


OH ya, wasnt our Mayor out of town when the raid went down? How convenient.

Advance Indiana said...

I'm not buying into the "Mitch made a phone call" theory, unless he has influence in the Obama Justice Department of which I'm completely unaware.

Diana Vice said...

Maybe someone involved at the heart of the investigation threatened to spill the beans on dirty politicians and the fall-out was going to get too messy. Just a thought.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I agree with Gary. I think there were some things done behind the scenes by certain players, but I highly doubt Governor Daniels making a phone call was one of them.

Advance Indiana said...

There used to be YouTube clip on the Internet of a campaign ad that Durham's son used in his high school class president campaign at Park Tudor. Carl Brizzi, Ludacris and, yes, Barack Obama, put in the word for Durham's son in the video. Only at Park Tudor . . .

Downtown Indy said...

Does Tim dream of a blue beach with white sand at a place called Zihuatanejo?

Cato said...

I think it's telling that so many people are convinced that Mitch was behind this case getting tossed.

After all, we all remember him being specifically exonerated by Rokita concerning IPALCO in a then unheard-of procedure of making a exoneration while a case was ongoing.

Lots of exceptions when Mitch is around.

Probably just coincidence.

Advance Indiana said...

The IPALCO matter is an entirely different subject. All of the big players in this town were looking for cover on that one. Daniels was just one of them. Yeah, Rokita gave them a pass.

Upsidedwn said...

Here's an original thought -- maybe we are wrong and he's not guilty?

Nick said...

Maybe he is providing the goods on others to save himself.

Erich said...

Upsidedown has a point.

Perhaps Tim Durham is simply having a bit of fun by not even responding to the FBI raid. And everything will turn out a-okay.

Just might happen!

Had Enough Indy? said...

I have a question. Why was the original filing a civil complaint and not a criminal complaint?

Nick said...

Investors with Fair Finance who have concerns or information to share may call:

• The Ohio Division of Securities investor protection information hot line at 800-788-1194 and 614-466-6140.

• The FBI at 800-CALL-FBI.