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Federal judge rejects plea to shorten Timothy Durham prison sentence

(INDIANAPOLIS) — A federal judge in Indianapolis has refused to shorten the 50-year prison sentence for Timothy Durham, the Indianapolis businessman convicted of cheating investors out of more than $200 million.

In a ruling issued Monday afternoon, Judge Robert L. Miller found that Durham failed to prove he was the victim of ineffective counsel.

In a hearing this spring, Durham argued that his lead attorney, John Tompkins, was incompetent and made 12 errors leading up to the trial.“There is little doubt that had Tompkins performed as required, Durham would have been found not guilty on all counts or at least, his sentence would have been decades shorter,” Durham wrote in the court papers.

Judge Miller ruled that Tompkin’s work did not fall “below constitutional standards at any point in the trial or the time leading up to trial with respect to contacting, interviewing, questioning, calling to testify, or cross examining witnesses.”

Durham is scheduled to remain in a federal prison until 2055 after a federal jury convicted him and two business partners in 2012 of charges including securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy.

Investigators say Durham and his partners used their companies Obsidian and Fair Finance to cheat more than 5,000 investors out of more than $200 million.

Federal authorities at the time labeled it the worst-ever white collar crime in the history of Indiana, and compared Durham to Bernie Madoff, the New York financier whose ponzi scheme had losses estimated at more than $60 billion.