Jury selection in the trial of Indianapolis businessman Tim Durham gets underway this morning. Durham and his partners are facing ten counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud and one count of securities fraud.
Federal prosecutors allege Durham ran a Ponzi scheme to defraud five-thousand investors out of more than $200 million. They say Durham and partners James Cochran and Rick Snow, also on trial, bilked elderly investors through Fair Finance Company based out of Akron-Ohio.
They say Durham used the money to finance a lavish lifestyle and other ventures. Prosecutors wiretapped numerous phone conversations as part of their probe. The government has gone after Durham’s assets to pay back alleged victims.
First Assistant US Attorney Josh Minkler believes they have a strong case.
“The charges are two fold, the major charge being securities fraud,” he says. “I really don’t want to talk too much about the evidence case. We’re very confident in our case and we look forward to getting that case in front of a jury.”
It’s believed Durham owes creditors more than $75 million. However, Durham’s attorney John L. Tompkins says the charges are false and Durham didn’t rip off anyone.
“It’s about his opportunity to get the full story out so people understand that he was not committing a fraud against investors in Ohio. The charges are just charges and accusations,” Tompkins says.
Jury selection begins at 9 a.m. in U.S. District Court. Opening arguments are set to begin Monday. The trial is expected to last up to four weeks.