With this week marking the two-year anniversary of FBI raids that closed now-bankrupt Fair Finance Co., creditors got word that money continues to trickle into the defunct Akron company’s estate.
The Fair Finance trustee on Tuesday said he has recovered more than $900,000 in the past month for the estate, including reimbursed political contributions from a former county prosecutor in Indiana.
And the trustee, Cleveland attorney Brian Bash, said he will be proceeding with claims to recover more than $9 million in a lawsuit with California comedy movie maker National Lampoon.
Those funding amounts and more were disclosed in the trustee’s November status report and during a short hearing Tuesday morning in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in downtown Akron.
It was two years ago on Nov. 24 that the FBI raided the offices of Fair Finance, a long-established Akron finance and accounts receivables company. Fair Finance never opened its doors again, with court documents showing federal investigators suspected Fair’s owners in Indiana had been operating the company as a Ponzi scheme since buying it in 2002.
Fair Finance was forced into involuntary bankruptcy in February 2010.
About 5,300 Ohio residents and organizations, mainly in the Akron area, had invested more than $218 million in Fair Finance’s uninsured but high-interest-rate paying investment certificates.
On Tuesday, Bash reported:
• Receiving $315,679 from Duvera Billing Services since his last monthly report, in addition to more than $331,000 received in early October.
• Putting $260,000 in escrow on one claim that is pending court approval.
• Receiving $170,881.70 from the (Carl) Brizzi for Prosecutor campaign and also $15,000 personally from Brizzi, with $10,000 to be paid in monthly installments. Brizzi is a former Indianapolis-area county prosecutor and a friend of Timothy Durham, the Indiana-based co-owner of Fair Finance Co. Durham, with others, is charged with operating the business as a Ponzi scheme and is awaiting trial in federal court.
• Reaching agreements in principle with other debtors over money totaling about $185,000.
Bash also said a federal judge in California denied his motion to appoint a receiver for National Lampoon, which was also owned and run by Durham. But the judge did allow the trustee to proceed with claims to recover more than $9 million from National Lampoon, he reported.
The trustee also said he is proceeding on other legal fronts, including lawsuits against Dan Laikin, another Durham friend, business partner and former Fair Finance director who is now in prison after being convicted of stock manipulation involving National Lampoon.
The next regular monthly status hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 20 in bankruptcy court.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or email@example.com