Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reaction From Ohio To Durham Conviction

The Akron Beacon-Journal has been doing an excellent job covering the Fair Finance travesty that cost small investors in northeastern Ohio more than $200 million. Reporter Jim Mackinnon has been covering the trial for the newspaper and had this reaction from investors:

Akron-area investors reacted to the verdicts, saying they have little expectation of getting their money back.
Tom Ries of Wadsworth had $72,000 invested with Fair Finance. He had been hoping to use the money to purchase a winter home in Florida. He’s had to settle for a mobile home, he said.
Ries said he’s been told to expect back no more than “pennies on the dollar.”
Still, “there is satisfaction in that [Durham] was found guilty and he won’t be out on the street,” Ries said.
Beverly Barabas, a Wadsworth widow, said she’s still not sure exactly how much she lost with Fair Finance, but she knows losing that money meant giving up all the little extras in life.
“I have grandchildren and children and I told them, ‘Grandma isn’t going to have the money for Christmas and birthdays,’ ” she said.
And while Wednesday’s conviction might not help get any of her money back, “Thank God they’re going to get punished for what they did to me and a lot of other people,” she said.
Mackinnon provides a brief recap of some of the evidence federal prosecutors presented to jurors that convinced them Durham and his business associates, James Cochran and Rick Snow, had intentionally engaged in a scheme to defraud them as opposed to the claims of defense lawyers that the trio was simply caught up in the bad economic conditions of the time:
The government’s evidence showed Durham spent $200,000 from Fair investors toward the $650,000 purchase of a 1929 Duesenberg Derham Phaeton on Jan. 20, 2005. He ordered wire transfers from Fair that sent $107,500 for him to use at the casino at Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas on Jan. 31, 2007.
Durham spent $131,235.97 from Fair to lease an ultra high-end sports car Bugatti Veyron on June 19, 2007. The base price to buy one is $1.7 million.
Durham ordered a wire transfer of $150,000 from Fair on Jan. 28, 2008, spending the money at the Rio Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Durham wired more than $168,000 from Fair to throw a Playboy magazine party in September 2008. The event included entertainment from Ludacris’ Disturbing tha Peace Records at a cost of $60,000, and appearances by Playboy bunnies and reality TV stars Kendra Wilkinson, Bridget Marquardt and Holly Madison, who were paid fees of $10,000 each.
Federal prosecutors told reporters following yesterday's verdicts that they intend to seek the maximum sentences against Durham, Cochran and Snow, which would mean life sentences for the three men. They are now being held in the Marion County Jail pending their sentencing.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Thanks for the kind comments on the Akron Beacon Journal's Fair Finance coverage. I'd like to point out that while I was in Indianapolis covering the verdict, my newsroom colleague, Paula Schleis, got the comments from some of the Fair Finance investors in Ohio and inserted them into the story. Also, my editor, Larry Pantages, plugged in some background from the Indianapolis Business Journal (with permission from the IBJ). Both Paula and the IBJ were given credit at the bottom of the story.
Regards, Jim Mackinnon