INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - TIm Durham has been sentenced to 50 years in prison by a federal judge.
Judge Jane Magnus Stinson's sentence was short of the 225 years the state was pursuing, but she said it was "effectively" a life sentence. She told Durham it was easy for him to donate to charity and politicians because he was using other people's money. She said he was trying to play the system.
Durham did take the stand on Friday, but no one testified on his behalf, though a few dozen letters were written to the court for him.
While on the stand, Durham said he felt bad for investors, saying he's read their letters multiple times. He told the court he didn't know people invested on an individual basis and wishes he was clearer about some things.
- CONTINUING COVERAGE | Track the ups and downs of the Durham case
Attorneys from the state said a 225-year sentence would underscore the seriousness of Durham's crimes. But Durham's attorney argued it wasn't appropriate, noting Bernie Madoff, convicted of running a high-profile ponzi scheme, didn't get as many as 225 years.
Durham and two of his associates were found guilty in June of fraudulent financial acts.
Prosecutors claimed he used his purchase of Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance as his personal piggy bank to pay for the lavish lifestyle, eventually leaving more than 5,000 investors out more than $200 million.
A judge also sentenced Durham's business partner James Cochran to 25 years. Their chief financial officer, Rick Snow, received a 10 year sentence for his involvement in the scheme.
In court Friday, Tim Durham said he "feels bad for the investors" and wishes he had made things more clear.
After news of Durham's sentencing came in, a family victim responded saying, "I'm just sad. I'm sad for the families. But he did wrong and we all have to pay for what we do wrong.
U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett released the following statement Friday on the sentencing:
"For two years, there has been no justice for the thousands of victims of Tim Durham's crimes. We heard stories today of what those hardworking Americans lost as a result of his greed - hopes, dreams, futures they had been building toward for a lifetime.
As one victim testified this morning, the money is only a part of what these crimes have taken from them. They've lost their peace of mind, their trust in others, and their faith in goodness and mercy. These are things they will never get back. What Tim Durham and his associates destroyed through self-indulgence was irreplaceable, and those people may never be made whole.
But in a courtroom behind me, just a few moments ago, justice was finally done. With this decision, it is my hope that those victims can now begin the long, difficult process of finding peace, and faith, and trust, once more. Throughout these proceedings, we have all heard Tim Durham say that his failures were the fault of many things - the government, the media, our nation's economic struggles.
Let me just say: It wasn't the government, it wasn't the media, and it wasn't America's economy that ruined Tim Durham.
It was Tim Durham, and the selfish, destructive actions of people like him, that squandered America's economic strength. It was Tim Durham, along with Rick Snow and James Cochran, who stole the hopes and dreams of those people.
This ordeal is truly a tragedy for all families involved. All we can do is ask that today's decision send a warning to others in Indiana that if you sacrifice truth in the name of greed, if you steal from another's American dream to enhance your own, you will be caught and you will pay a significant price."
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