March 16, 2011
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
LOS ANGELES — A prominent Republican fund-raiser was charged Wednesday in a federal grand jury indictment with orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The fund-raiser, Timothy Durham, 48, was arrested early in the morning at his West Hollywood home and charged with 12 counts of securities and wire fraud in federal court here.
Prosecutors accuse Mr. Durham of taking money investors trusted to his business, the Fair Finance Company, and using it make loans to himself and his businesses; earlier investors were repaid with money from newer ones.
From 2002 to 2009, more than 5,000 investors were defrauded out of more than $200 million, the indictment said. The company later filed for bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy trustee for Fair Finance told creditors in August that much of the $54 million Mr. Durham had lent himself helped finance his lavish lifestyle — at his Indianapolis home, a 45-car garage housed an Aston Martin designed to look like the car James Bond drove in “Goldfinger,” while in Miami he kept a four-bedroom yacht.
Mr. Durham donated more than $800,000 to the Republican Party and candidates in Indiana, including almost $200,000 to Gov. Mitch Daniels. Neither Mr. Durham’s lawyer nor Mr. Daniels’s campaign responded to requests for comment.
Two of Mr. Durham’s business associates, James F. Cochran, 55, and Rick D. Snow, 47, were also charged with security and wire fraud on Wednesday.
More in U.S. (1 of 32 articles)
Report Finds Wide Abuses By Police in New Orleans
Read More »