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 for Durham.
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.