Convicted financier says he can't afford a lawyer

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An Indiana financier and former chief executive of National Lampoon who was convicted of swindling investors out of about $200 million says he can't afford to hire an attorney to handle his appeal.

In federal court documents filed Monday, Timothy Durham said his multimillion-dollar Indianapolis home is in foreclosure and all of his financial assets are tied up bankruptcy proceedings of the companies he used to control.

Durham's home in Fortville, Ind., about 20 miles northeast of Indianapolis, has a $5 million mortgage but a free-market value of only $3 million, according to the documents.

Durham says his only income this year was $6,000 he received as a director of Dallas-based insurer CLST Holdings Inc. He also has stock in CLST and National Lampoon, the documents say.

Durham was sentenced to 50 years in prison last month on securities fraud and other convictions in the collapse of Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance. He also was ordered to pay $202.8 million in restitution. Durham received credit for $6 million that already has been recovered.

Durham and two business partners were charged with stripping Fair Finance of its assets and using the money to buy mansions, classic cars and other luxury items and to keep another Durham company afloat. The men were convicted of operating an elaborate Ponzi scheme to hide the company's depleted condition from regulators and investors, many of whom were elderly.

Defense lawyers argued that Durham and the others were caught off-guard by the economic crisis of 2008, and bewildered when regulators placed them under more strict scrutiny and investors made a run on the company.

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