WASHINGTON – The former chief executive officer of Fair Financial Company, an Ohio financial services business, was sentenced today to serve 50 years in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud approximately 5,000 investors of more than $200 million, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Joseph H. Hogsett.
Timothy S. Durham, 50, of Fortville, Ind., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson. In addition to his prison term, Durham was sentenced to serve two years supervised release.
James F. Cochran, the former chairman of the board of Fair, was sentenced today by Judge Magnus-Stinson to serve 25 years in prison and three years of supervised release.
Rick D. Snow, the former chief financial officer of Fair, was sentenced today by Judge Magnus-Stinson to ten years in prison and two years of supervised release.
Judge Snow also ordered Durham, Cochran and Snow to pay restitution in the amount of $208 million.
“The lengthy prison sentences handed down today are just punishment for a group of executives who built a business on smoke and mirrors,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “By deliberately misleading their investors and state regulators, Mr. Durham and his co-conspirators were able defraud thousands of innocent investors. The Justice Department will continue to devote considerable time and resources to ensure that fraudsters like Mr. Durham, Mr. Cochran and Mr . Snow are brought to justice for their crimes.”
“This ordeal is truly a tragedy for all families involved,” said U.S. Attorney Hogsett. “All we can do is ask that today’s decision send a warning to others in Indiana that if you sacrifice truth in the name of greed, if you steal from another’s American dream to enhance your own, you will be caught and you will pay a significant price.”
“The FBI will continue to aggressively pursue financial crimes investigations,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert A. Jones of the FBI Indianapolis Division. “Today’s sentencing represents a significant step toward justice. We must remain mindful that the victims of this crime still suffer.”
On June 20, 2012, following an eight-day trial, a federal jury in the Southern District of Indiana convicted Durham and two co-conspirators for their roles in this scheme. Durham was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud. James F. Cochran, 57, of McCordsville, Ind., was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, one count of securities fraud and six counts of wire fraud. Rick D. Snow, 49, Fishers, Ind., was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, one count of securities fraud and three counts of wire fraud.
Durham and Cochran purchased Fair, whose headquarters was in Akron, Ohio, in 2002. According to evidence presented at trial, between approximately February 2005 through November 2009, Durham, Cochran and Snow executed a scheme to defraud Fair’s investors by making and causing others to make false and misleading statements about Fair’s financial condition and about the manner in which they were using Fair investor money. The evidence also established that Durham, Cochran and Snow executed the scheme to enrich themselves, to obtain millions of dollars of investors’ funds through false representations and promises and to conceal from the investing public Fair’s true financial condition and the manner in which Fair was using investor money.
When Durham and Cochran purchased Fair in 2002, Fair reported debts to investors from the sale of investment certificates of approximately $37 million and income producing assets in the form of finance receivables of approximately $48 million. By November 2009, after Durham and Cochran had owned the company for seven years, Fair’s debts to investors from the sale of investment certificates had grown to more than $200 million, while Fair’s income producing assets consisted only of the loans to Durham and Cochran, their associates and the businesses they owned or controlled.
Durham, Cochran and Snow terminated Fair’s independent accountants who, at various points during 2005 and 2006, told the defendants that many of Fair’s loans were impaired or did not have sufficient collateral. After firing the accountants, the defendants never released audited financial statements for 2005, and never obtained or released audited financial statements for 2006 through September 2009. With independent accountants no longer auditing Fair’s financial statements, the defendants were able to conceal from investors Fair’s true financial condition.
Evidence introduced at trial showed that the defendants engaged in a variety of other fraudulent activities to conceal from the State of Ohio Division of Securities and from investors Fair’s true financial health and cash flow problems. Evidence showed that the defendants made false and misleading statements to concerned investors who either had not received principal or interest payments on their certificates from Fair or who were worried about Fair’s financial health. The defendants also directed employees of Fair not to pay investors who were owed interest or principal payments on their certificates.
Even though Fair’s financial condition had deteriorated and Fair was experiencing severe cash flow problems, Durham and Cochran continued to funnel Fair investor money to themselves for their personal expenses, to their family, friends and acquaintances, and to the struggling businesses that they owned or controlled.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Henry P. Van Dyck and Senior Deputy Chief for Litigation Kathleen McGovern of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Winfield D. Ong and Nicholas E. Surmacz of the Southern District of Indiana. The investigation was led by the FBI in Indianapolis.
This case is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov .