An Indianapolis businessman's trial on charges that he bilked investors out of more than $200 million opened Monday with his attorney telling jurors that prosecutors were misrepresenting his attempts to save the company.
Federal prosecutors say Tim Durham, his business partner and his accountant used a Ponzi scheme to bilk about 5,000 mostly elderly investors at the Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co.
Defense attorney John Tompkins said in his opening statement that Durham was trying to keep the company alive after the 2008 financial crisis.
"There is no massive scheme," Tompkins said. "There is a reaction to a panicked situation."
Prosecutor Henry Van Dyck said jurors would hear phone recordings of Durham and the others discussing the scheme in late 2009.
Van Dyck said Durham lied to investigators and squandered money on a lavish lifestyle and failed businesses.
"To this day, the defendants have paid back none of that money. None," Van Dyck said.
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$200M Investment Fraud Trial Begins in Indiana