Friday, November 30, 2012

Ponzi Schemer Tim Durham Gets 50-Year Prison Sentence

Convicted Ponzi schemer Tim Durham with former O.J. Simpson house boy Kato Kaelin (left) and Judge Extreme Akim Anastopoulo (right) at the "Eye for an Eye" luncheon in Beverly Hills in Sept. 2005 (photo by L. Cohen, WireImage)
Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson heard arguments by Tim Durham's attorney at the convicted Ponzi schemer's sentencing hearing today that the government and news media were to blame for the more than $200 million thousands of small Ohio investors lost in Durham's Fair Finance, and she heard pleas from victims who lost their entire life savings in the form of testimony and more than 1,000 letters. The IBJ's Cory Schouten provided a play-by-play of today's courtroom action via Twitter. Not surpisingly, Judge Magnus-Stinson showed no mercy towards Durham, handing down a sentence fitting for an "eye for an eye" form of justice Durham jokingly embraced during a September 15, 2005 luncheon in Beverly Hills with his pseudo-celebrity friends. In finding more than 5,100 victims suffered losses of $250 million, Judge Magnus-Stinson sentenced Durham to 50 years in prison, which she described as "an effective life sentence." In her ruling, Judge Magnus-Stinson described his actions of "hosting a Playboy party, buying cars and yachts" while investors suffered losses as "deceit, greed and arrogance."  Judge Magnus-Stinson scolded Durham for being charitable with other people's money, referring to all the money he gave to charities, politicians and his family. "The Court finds there's no remorse on your part that's sincere," the judge said. Durham was saved by an even harsher sentence after the judge agreed that he wasn't acting as a fiduciary at the time he committed his financial fraud on the investors of Fair Finance. "I feel terrible they all last money," Durham told the judge. "My family has lost all of its investments. I feel very badly for all the people here today. . . I probably wasn't as familiar with our investor base as I am now" Yeah, as if his multi-millionaire ex-father-in-law, Beurt SerVaas, won't be taking care of them. I have a tough time believing he didn't recognize that many of his investors were from rural Ohio's Amish and Mennonite community. The IBJ's Cory Schouten notes that Durham concluded his statement without explicitly apologizing to the victims.

UPDATE: Durham's accomplices, James Cochran and Rick Snow, received sentences of 25 years and 10 years, respectively. I just realized that Durham is 50, the same age I turned today. I wonder why I feel like his future is brighter than mine?


Melyssa said...

Happy Birthday, Gary! Welcome to the Half Century Club! I turned 50 in February.

SW Lane said...

I am 100% certain your future is brighter than see, he has NO future, except 4 walls, 3 hots and a cot. That will probably hasten his demise more than any other thing, not living the ill-gotten high life style he has done up until 3 years ago.