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Is Tim Durham an honest businessman who valiantly struggled to save his troubled companies or a con artist who ripped off five thousand investors in a $200 million Ponzi scheme?
Those are the major questions before the jury in the federal case. Jurors will begin deliberations early Wednesday. Durham attorney John Tompkins told jurors Tuesday that the prosecution has picked and chosen pieces of evidence that "fit their premise." However, Tompkins argued that jurors shouldn't buy into that "false premise." Tompkins argued that Durham and partners hit "the perfect storm." He says the economic decline of 2008, changes in Ohio securities requirements, bad publicity and investor fears contributed to the decline of Durham's companies.
Tompkins argued that Durham and partners could have fled the country or shredded documents, but did not. He also argued that Durham invested $28 million of his own money in an effort to keep his companies afloat. He added that Durham merely delayed payments to investors. Meantime, prosecutors asked the jury to consider Durham and partners Jim Cochran and Rick Snow guilty on all 12 counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud. They say the trio knowingly lied to investors, Ohio state regulators and vendors. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson says jurors will be sequestered if deliberations run past Wednesday. All three men face years behind bars if convicted.
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