INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - An I-Team 8 investigation has connected the dots between an FBI raid on a Minneapolis-area internet company to the federal investigation into Indianapolis businessman Tim Durham.
Agents from the FBI in Indianapolis participated in Tuesday's raid at Alternate Billing Corporation in Forest Lake, Minnesota.
The company is a billing processor or aggregator for cell phone content providers. It does billing for many companies including those owned by Tim Durham. It's suspected of what's known as cramming. Cramming happens when a company adds a charge to your phone bill for a service you didn't order, agree to or use.
The FBI wants to find more customers who say they were improperly charged on their telephone bills for services related to Alternate Billing or affiliated companies including two owned by Durham (Durham Technology and MyIProducts).
Our I-Team 8 investigation found many connections between Alternate Billing Corporation and Tim Durham.
The FBI has been investigating Durham for more than a year after the collapse of his company, Fair Finance. More than 5,000 Fair Finance investors lost over $200 million dollars. The company the FBI raided Tuesday had received loans from the now-defunct Fair Finance. Durham has not been charged with any crimes.
A lawsuit was filed in Minnesota in May against Alternate Billing Corp. and two Durham companies, Durham Technology and MyIProducts IMail. It alleges the companies had deceptive marketing practices.
Another connection is the president of Alternate Billing Corporation, Cynthia (Cindy) Landeen.
According to documents filed with the Ohio Division of Securities in November of 2009, Durham's Fair Finance loaned $385,000 to ABC Corp. and $284,000 to Cindy Landeen.
Before Landeen ran Alternate Billing, she was a part-owner of Phonebillit, Inc. with Indianapolis lawyer Neil Lucas. The company was dissolved by court order in 2005 in an ownership dispute with a third owner.
Lucas also received a loan from Fair Finance in the amount of $145,000. None of the loans was ever paid back.
A Securities and Exchange Commission filing from 2006 shows Lucas was also a part of an investment group put together by Tim Durham to buy Cellstar Corporation, a company that distributed cell phones. Shortly after the group bought Cellstar, they sold its assets to Indianapolis-based Brightpoint.
Durham's business partner Dan Laikin, now in federal prison on a stock scheme involving National Lampoon, is the brother of Brightpoint CEO Robert Laikin.
I-Team 8 attempted to reach Indianapolis attorney Thomas Collignon Thursday. He is listed as a registered agent for the Alternate Billing Corp. His law office downtown told us he was out of the office until Monday.
If you think you were improperly billed by Alternate Billing Corp. or an affiliated business, you can contact them online or by email.
Click here for an online form or email email@example.com. You can also call 1-855-235-6633.
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