Durham Gets 50 Years for Fair Finance Investment Fraud
Tim Durham, the former chief executive of National Lampoon, has been sentenced
to 50 years in prison for defrauding 5,000 Ohio investors out of more
than $250 million in the Fair Finance investment scheme.
According to court documents, Durham and his co-conspirators, James F.
Cochran and Rick D. Snow, stripped Fair Finance (a long-time privately
held consumer finance company with a previously solid reputation) of its
assets and willfully concealed the true state of the company’s financial
condition in order to defraud investors and enrich themselves.
During today’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
said Durham’s scheme was characterized by "deceit, greed, and
arrogance." She also said it violated the trust of thousands of individuals
from America’s heartland, and thereby undermined the very fabric
of the country.
Though Durham attempted to express regret at today’s hearing, he
didn’t give an outright apology, and Magnus-Stinson said she didn’t
feel as though he had shown sincere remorse. Still, she decided against
the prosecution’s recommended sentence of 225 years, stating that
it would be as "puffed up" as Durham’s falsified
account statements. Instead, she settled on 50 years, which is effectively a life sentence
Durham, Cochran, and Snow were
convicted of the investment scheme in June, after incriminating emails and phone recordings presented at
trial showed the extent to which the men went to cover up their scheme.
Cochran and Snow will be sentenced later today.