INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) As the sentences for Tim Durham, James Cochran and Rick Snow were handed down Friday, they were met with mixed emotions from investors swindled by the convicted financiers. Many who lost millions in Fair Finance's Ponzi scheme are still working to rebuild their lives.
Outside the Federal Courthouse Friday, those like Jane Kalina took the news of Durham's 50-year sentence with an air of hope. But, many remained focused — not on the number — but on Durham's victims.
For Kalina, thoughts were with her 86-year-old father back at home near Cleveland.
"He was a self employed farmer and a mason, and this was his life investment," she said, working to steady her voice. "And, he lost it all."
Kalina's father also urged his children to invest in Akron, Ohio based Fair Finance.
"He lost over $170,000 and us children lost close to $40,000," Kalina said.
Theirs is one of more than 5,000 heartbreaking stories exposed in the wake of the investigation into Fair Finance. Some were told through tears in court on Friday.
Dewayne McVay lost the $130,000 he invested from the life insurance policy he collected after his son died. Kristen Schroeder lost the $60,000 she and her husband invested to help pay for a new home. Sister Barbara Lukacik — a 74-year-old nun — lost $125,000 she invested.
It was her life savings.
On the stand Friday, she turned to Durham and simply said: "shame on you."
As she left the hearing, she quietly said she was satisfied.
"I think justice was served, yes," she said. "He's going to be 100 when he gets out, so, you can't have anything more than that, can you?"
For many, it was a bittersweet moment, shared by friends and neighbors, and strangers who have become allies in the fight for justice.
"We never expected to be here," said Kim Nussbaum, Kalina's brother. "I didn't know if we'd ever see this day. Back when [the FBI] raided the [Fair Finance] office, we didn't know what was going to happen. But, it's good to see it happening."
It's the reason the family came all the way from Wooster, Ohio to testify.
"There are so many people we know in our community that were older and my dad is 86 years old," Kalina said. "We just felt we had to represent them and to tell their story and how it's just devastated them. My dad has cried. He's stayed up at night worrying. He just felt he's a failure and basically he felt like he was a fool. He kept his money in there and he told us to invest. This is for you, Dad."
Judge Jane Magnus Stinson told the three financiers that she had read more than 1,000 letters sent by Fair investors. Many pushed for restitution to be mandated for Durham, Cochran and Snow's crimes.
But, so far, the government has only recovered about $6 million of the more than $200 million Fair Finance owes its investors.
It's a bitter pill to swallow. But, for some, it has tugged a new emotion.
"Absolutely, I forgave them," Lukacik said. "That's the right thing to do."
"We don't want revenge," Kalina agreed. "The revenge stays in your heart. We want justice."
Healing will take time. Rebuilding financial lives will continue to be an uphill battle.
But, many are taking solace that the final chapter in their tragic story is now written.
A four-year nightmare is finally over.
"He did wrong," Kalina said. "And we all have to pay for what we do wrong."
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