(INDIANAPOLIS) - 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.
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.
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