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Suit alleges financier embezzled $1 million

– A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles accuses former Indianapolis financier Tim Durham of embezzling $1 million from National Lampoon Inc. to pay the attorney who represented him on federal fraud and conspiracy charges.

Durham, attorney John Tompkins and Tompkins’ law firm are named as defendants in the lawsuit filed last week, The Indianapolis Star reported Monday.

National Lampoon contends Durham took $1 million from a $2.7 million settlement with Warner Brothers over distribution of Lampoon’s “Vacation” movies and wired the money to an account connected to Tompkins’ firm in July 2011. Durham was chief executive officer of National Lampoon from December 2008 to January 2012.

The lawsuit, which seeks repayment of the money, attorney fees and other damages, claims the transfer was not approved by the National Lampoon board of directors. It also claims that neither Tompkins nor his firm ever performed any work for National Lampoon.

Tompkins declined to comment on the case.

Durham, 50, was sentenced to 50 years in prison in November after a federal jury convicted him of securities fraud, conspiracy and 10 counts of wire fraud. Prosecutors say he and two co-conspirators took $200 million from investors in Fair Finance, based in Akron, Ohio.

Durham is appealing those convictions.

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