Criminal Justice

Former National Lampoon CEO Gets 50 Years for Fraud

Bilking folks out of $200 million apparently not that funny

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An Indiana financier who once ran National Lampoon Inc. was sentenced to 50 years in prison Friday for his role in a fraudulent scheme that prosecutors say bilked investors out of about $200 million.

Timothy S. Durham, 50 years old, was convicted in June by a federal jury for securities and wire fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors in an Ohio firm called Fair Finance Co. The firm was one of several run by Mr. Durham, a leveraged-buyout specialist and major Indiana Republican Party donor.

Prosecutors alleged that Mr. Durham and two business associates swindled Fair Finance investors, many of them elderly, to help pay for the perpetrators' lavish lifestyles. Mr. Durham, a collector of exotic cars who lived in a 30,000-square-foot mansion, was the subject of a profile in The Wall Street Journal in 2009, after the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided two of his companies.