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Northern Ohio Ponzi scheme involved convicted fraudster Tim Durham

Northern Ohio Ponzi scheme involved convicted fraudster Tim Durham

“Failing Calif. Leasing Co. An $80M Ponzi Scheme, SEC Says”, an article from Law 360 detailing yet another huge Ponzi scheme, this one occurring in California.  You will see from the article that is alleged by the Securities and Exchange Commission that Ralph Iannelli, the president and founder of Essex Capital Corp., raised approximately 80 million dollars from investors in return for promissory notes, while falsely portraying his business as successful. The Essex Capital Corp. business purportedly was engaged in leasing assets to businesses, and then reporting back to their investors that they were very successful, instead of accurately reporting that the owners were spending the investors’ monies.

Starr Austen & Miller was contacted by a large number of investors in Northern Ohio on a very similar Ponzi scheme a few years ago.  The Northern Ohio Ponzi scheme involved convicted fraudster Tim Durham who owned Fair Financial Corporation, who also claimed to be raising capital to buy equipment which was leased to various businesses. The Fair Financial Ponzi scheme caused losses exceeding 400 million dollars, and fraudster Durham and several of his partners were sentenced to long prison terms.  Unfortunately, as is so often the case, the poor victims were left substantially holding the bag.

Starr Austen & Miller has worked on dozens of Ponzi scheme cases down through the years.  Most Ponzi schemes involve the fraudster selling high interest “guaranteed” promissory notes to innocent investors, promising high returns, together with a “secure” or “safe” protection of the investor’s principal.  In reality, the Ponzi scheme eventually collapses and the investors are left with nothing. Included within this website are several articles we have authored in the past to help educate investors on the common traits and dangers of Ponzi schemes.  If you or a loved one believe you might be the victim of a Ponzi scheme, or if you or a loved one have either loaned your money or invested in “promissory notes”, you should check your circumstances against those described elsewhere in our website to determine if you may possibly be a victim of a Ponzi scheme.  Please feel free to contact our firm for a free no obligation consultation if you believe you might possibly be a victim of securities fraud.


The team of investment fraud lawyers at Starr Austen & Miller LLP fights for the protection of investors and handles cases involving securities arbitration misrepresentation, overconcentration, broker fraud, negligence and breach of trust.