The Fraudfather: Tony Rand's Second Criminal Fraud Bust Coincides With The First For His Five Sons

by George Waldon  on Monday, Aug. 29, 2011 12:00 am  

Ex-theater owner Tony Rand and his five sons have been convicted of scams totalling $110 million.

a 1,500-horsepower engine; Mark's 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, classic guitars (two Gibson Les Pauls and Fender Stratocasters from 1960 and 1965), art (a Picasso drawing and), jewelry and fine wine; Tony's Jamali painting, 2005 Ferrari and 2007 Mercedes; and $850,000 from the sale of Bill's lake house on Eden Isle in Heber Springs.

Big Brothers
The eldest Rand brothers, Wayne, 49, and Jeff, 48, ran separate oil and gas scams that led to their own judicial reckoning this year as well.

Wayne Rand, president of Rockwall Oil Co. (aka Black Lake Energy Inc.), was sentenced in January to 20 years in Texas state prison for conning investors out of $8 million.

According to court documents, Rand failed to drill nine of the 13 wells that he touted to investors and instead used their money to buy a house, a $368,000 speedboat, numerous pieces of jewelry and $70,000 worth of firearms.

Jeff Rand admitted defrauding investors as early as October 2001. His scam may have been the first to start, and it was the first to unravel after a dogged investigation by Arkansas Securities Department attorney Ted Holder led to a cease-and-desist order in December 2006.

After that order, a lawyer for Aspen Exploration told Arkansas Business that Jeff's business and that of Tony, Greg, Mark and Bill were completely separate. "They are estranged brothers for the most part," attorney Cheryl Moore said.

Jeff, president of Wave Energy Corp. of Houston, pleaded guilty on June 28 to one count of mail fraud for bilking investors of between $2.5 million and $7.5 million in a scam that started when he and Wave were domiciled in Hot Springs.

His victims included at least two Arkansans: Todd Hickingbotham and Phillip Tappan, both of Little Rock.

Hickingbotham has never commented publicly on the Rand case. Tappan told Arkansas Business that he agreed to invest $80,000 with his old college friend in 2004.

"It's so easy to see how he's been so successful at getting people to give him money," Tappan said last week. "He has a great personality and is larger than life when it comes to oratory skills."

In 2003 alone, according to the ASD order, Jeff Rand raised close to $2 million from investors: "Approximately $675,000 of it went to pay for Rand's acquisition of a duck hunting club, and the rest went to pay for Rand's horse racing and breeding operation, Wave's business expenses and other miscellaneous Rand personal expenses."

Jeff was indicted by a federal grand jury in Hot Springs in March 2008, but the indictment was kept sealed for two more years. And another 15 months passed before Jeff, now living in Washington state, pleaded guilty in Fort Smith.



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