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Feds: Three indicted in $200 million Ponzi scheme

By Deborah Brunswick, CNN

  • Federal authorities say the defendants defrauded investors of more than $200 million
  • Feds: Investor money went to "maintain their lifestyles and pay for personal expenses"
  • Attorneys for the three did not immediately return phone calls Wednesday

(CNN) -- Three former executives at an Ohio financial company were indicted Wednesday on charges of defrauding investors of more than $200 million, according to Timothy Morrison, U.S attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.

According to the indictment, Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co.'s then-chief executive officer,Timothy M. Durham, and two other men executed a scheme to defraud investors by making false and misleading statements about the company's financial condition and the manner in which they were using investor money.

The indictment alleges that Durham along with James F. Cochran and Rick D. Snow used over $200 million of investor money, which they made through the sale of investment certificates, to make loans to other businesses they owned and to "maintain their lifestyles and pay for personal expenses."

The scheme, which involved 5,000 investors, ran from February 2005 through November 2009, the indictment said.

Durham was arrested Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles. Snow and Cochran were arrested in Indianapolis, Indiana, according to Morrison.

"The arrests this morning in California and Indiana follow the largest corporate fraud investigation in the history of the FBI in Indiana," FBI special agent Michael E. Welch said at a press conference.

The three men were indicted on 10 counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud.

If convicted, each faces a maximum of five years in prison for the conspiracy count, 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count and 20 years in prison for the securities fraud count. In addition, each could be fined $250,000 for each count upon which they are convicted.

Calls by CNN to attorneys for the three defendants were not immediately returned.