Federal agents seized more than 200 business computers, computer servers, filing cabinets, accounting ledgers and monthly income reports in the November 2009 raid of Akron's Fair Finance Co.
The records, including the FBI application for the Fair Finance search warrant and a detailed list of items seized in the raid on the company's East Market Street office, were partially unsealed Tuesday in Akron by U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi.
Federal authorities from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland and Indianapolis, where the bankrupt company maintained its headquarters in the years leading up to the raids, had asked for the records to be unsealed after Fair Finance co-owners Timothy Durham and James Cochran were named earlier this month in a 12-count criminal indictment.
The indictment, also naming the company's former chief financial officer, Rick Snow, who was based in Akron, alleges that they defrauded thousands of Ohio investors out of some $208 million since Durham and Cochran bought the longtime Akron financial firm in 2002.
Still under court-ordered seal by Lioi, however, is the FBI affidavit in support of the Fair Finance search warrant.
''The affidavit contains substantial substantive investigative information which would greatly prejudice the criminal case in a variety of ways if it were to be made public,'' U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach, who is based in Cleveland, stated in court documents filed earlier this week.
The Akron Beacon Journal and the Indianapolis Business Journal have filed a court action to unseal all of the Fair Finance search warrant records, asserting that ''transparency in the investigation'' is needed for the many Ohio and Indiana investors who were victims of the alleged scheme.
A federal appeal of Lioi's August 2010 decision placing all the search warrant records under seal is pending in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
In the records unsealed Tuesday, authorities stated that they were requesting the search warrants for suspected U.S.
criminal code violations in connection with wire fraud, money laundering and various securities violations, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland said.
Akron FBI agents who conducted the raid here stated in a nine-page court filing that they seized 221 business-related items from the East Market Street office.
Among those items were desktop and laptop computers used by various office workers, bank statements, Fair Finance financial reports, credit and tax documents, securities investment reports and customer account records.
Winfield Ong, a U.S. Assistant Attorney in the Indianapolis office, said no similar documents were released there and he did not know whether his office would release them in the future.
The Indianapolis Business Journal contributed to this story. Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or email@example.com.