Bipartisan backed bill to safeguard Hoosier businesses

Posted by: Kathryn Frakes  | Wednesday, February 6, 2013

STATEHOUSE – State Representative Dale DeVon (R-Granger) has joined forces with three other Indiana lawmakers on a bill to safeguard Hoosier businesses against investment fraud. House Bill (HB) 1179 passed out of the House today unanimously.

Rep. DeVon is partnering with the bill’s author, Rep. Bob Heaton (R-Terre Haute), and co-authors, Reps. Christina Hale (D-Indianapolis) and Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis), in creating HB 1179 which would requires financial statements submitted by a person wishing to work in securities be audited by an independent certified public accountant.

The legislation was inspired by the circumstances surrounding Tim Durham, an area lawyer and financier found guilty last June of bilking more than 5,000 investors – most of them elderly – of around $230 million. He has been sentenced to 50 years in prison, although the conviction is being appealed.

“The Tim Durham case is an unfortunate example of what can happen when people abuse the system that is in place and don’t play by the rules,” said Rep. DeVon. “It is crucial that we create more transparency and protection on this issue, and I am pleased with the bipartisan support this bill is receiving.”

In addition, the bill places a Class C Felony for violating the agreement entered into with securities state officials. Penalties for violation could run as high as eight years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines and civil penalties.

“What was so disturbing about this case was the large number of people who placed their trust in this individual and his partners, only to see their hard-earned money lost to finance someone’s greed,” said Rep. Heaton. “As I watched this case unfold, I wanted to see if anything could be done to add an extra layer of consumer protection to existing state law and help Hoosiers from losing their savings in the future.”

“Tim Durham committed what has been called the largest white collar crime in our state’s history,” said Rep. Moed. “It is important that we learn what we can do to keep Hoosiers from falling prey to the type of greed on display here from ever happening again.”

The bill will go the Senate for further consideration.