Reality caught up with disgraced Indianapolis financier Tim Durham Friday afternoon.
A judge sentenced him to 50 years in prison for his role in a Ponzi scheme that took more than $250 million from investors.
Standing before federal Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson, Durham said during his sentencing that he had read letters from victims and felt “terrible” about what happened. He also said his family and co-conspirators had lost all their investments.
Judge Magnus-Stinson was unmoved, telling Durham he was characterized by “deceit, greed and arrogance.” She said Durham’s apology showed no “sincere remorse,” adding that his scam was longstanding and many years in the making. The judge said Durham was “utterly disrespectful of the law.”
When Durham countered that he had done good works for charity, the judge responded that “it’s very easy to donate to charity when you are using somebody else’s money.”
Still, the judge said she couldn’t give Durham the maximum sentence of 225 years prosecutors had sought. Instead, he will serve out a sentence of 50 years concurrently. The judge conceded that the punishment amounted to a “life sentence” for 50-year-old Durham.
In June, a federal jury found Durham and two business associates—57-year-old James Cochran and 49-year-old Rich Snow—guilty of bilking investors using Ohio-based Fair Finance. Cochran and Snow got 25 and 10 years, respectively.
In a court filing Monday, Durham and his associates asked for shorter sentences and tried to downplay their role in the scam.
Durham was convicted on 12 counts, including ten counts of wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud. Cochran and Snow were guilty of the securities fraud and conspiracy charges as well some of the wire fraud counts.
Prosecutors said Durham and Cochran used money from Fair Finance’s investors to fund a lavish lifestyle that included pricy homes, luxury cars and expensive parties. Snow helped Durham and Cochran cover their trail, prosecutors said.
In court Friday morning, victims of the investment scam testified against the trio, recounting how the scam affected their livelihood. Prosecutors said 5,122 people were duped in the investment scam.
Sister Barbara Lukacik, 74, Akron, Ohio, was one of five victims chosen to address the court on how Tim Durham’s Fair Finance cheated her out of her family’s hard-earned money.
“What has happened is shameful,” Lukacik said in court. “I forgive you and do not want to retaliate, but I do feel justice must be served.”
Lukacik told Fox59 she was satisfied with Durham’s punishment after the sentence was handed down.
“He’s (Durham) gonna be 100 when he gets out. You can’t have anything more than that, can you?” she asked.
Jane Kalina—another victim—also spoke in court, saying she feels more for the elderly victims of the scam who can’t earn back what Durham and his associates took from them. She said she feels fortunate to be able to recoup some of her family’s losses.
“(Durham) did wrong and we all have to pay for what we do wrong,” Kalina said.
U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said Durham, Cochran and Snow stole the hopes and dreams of thousands of people.
“I hope that today’s sentencing gives them a sense of justice that at least Mr. Durham and his colleagues have been held accountable for the crimes they have committed,” Hogsett said.