Jeff Rand Back in the High Life


What has Jeff Rand been up to in the five years since he was released from federal prison?

According to a bankruptcy trustee in Louisiana, his activities sound similar to what he was doing before he was sentenced in 2012 to 57 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release, plus almost $8 million in restitution.

Rand grew up in North Little Rock, one of five sons of serial fraudster Tony Rand. Tony, Jeff, Wayne, Bill, Greg and Mark all pleaded guilty in 2010 and 2011 to living large by defrauding investors in oil and gas schemes totaling some $110 million, although they weren’t all working together. Jeff was the only one prosecuted in Arkansas; the rest were in Texas.

Jeff Rand’s sentence forbade participation in the oil and gas industry during his supervised release. But he and a couple of buddies from a federal prison in Oregon came up with a business plan that appeared to violate that order.

One of those pals was Pat Davison, described as the mastermind of “the largest Ponzi scheme in Montana history” — about $4.5 million. Davison introduced Rand to David Rovig, owner of Rovig Minerals LLC, who transferred ownership of the defunct Montana mining company to a trust of which Rand’s only sister was the sole beneficiary.

Rovig Minerals and some related companies became the vehicles through which Rand, Davison and the third former inmate, Stephen Plowman of Seattle, raised some $39 million from investors eager for working interests in “wildly successful” oil wells in Louisiana — investors who weren’t apprised of the principals’ criminal histories. Rand seems to have been calling the shots while the company ran up millions in unpaid bills to vendors.

That is how the business plan was described in a lawsuit filed last month by Dwayne M. Murray, trustee in the bankruptcy forced by five creditors in 2019. The trustee raised about $5.8 million by selling Rovig’s only producing well and has filed numerous lawsuits to claw back payments made to creditors in the months before the bankruptcy filing.

$540,500

The trustee’s lawsuit describes the personal expenses on which Rand allegedly misspent Rovig’s cash. He paid himself “a modest salary of $3,000 per month … no doubt artificially and intentionally low to avoid paying a larger monthly criminal restitution payment,” the trustee’s attorney, Michael A. Crawford of Baton Rouge, wrote in the complaint.

But Rovig also paid $8,000-plus in monthly rent on a 7,000-SF New Orleans house valued at $1.6 million for Jeff and Beth Rand. And, the trustee alleges, Rand used Rovig’s American Express credit card for massages, “almost daily restaurant and bar charges,” personal utility bills, fishing trips and furnishings for the rented mansion. “It was not uncommon for Mr. Rand’s personal charges to exceed $25,000 per month,” according to the trustee’s complaint.

The house Rovig rented for the Rands burned in February. The New Orleans Fire Department said the fire started in an upstairs fireplace, and there is no suspicion of arson. But the bankruptcy trustee alleges that the furnishings Rovig paid for were included in Rand’s personal insurance claim following the fire.

In a section of the complaint titled “How Bout Dem Cowboys!,” the trustee alleges that Rovig spent approximately $100,000 so that Rand could enjoy virtually every home game of the Dallas NFL team. The AmEx bill shows that “Mr. Rand even charged roughly $2,700 for a hotel, tickets and a night at the Cowboys Club … 10 days after the involuntary bankruptcy was filed.” These were not legitimate business entertainment expenses, the complaint says, because “very few of those games [were] attended by investors or even other employees of Rovig.”

In total, trustee Murray says, Rand fraudulently misspent at least $540,500 of Rovig money in the months before the bankruptcy and should be ordered to pay it back for the benefit of the creditors.

Criminal Case

Federal prosecutors in the Western District of Arkansas apparently became aware in 2019 of Rand’s return to the forbidden oil and gas industry, which allegedly started by mid-2016.

The feds tried to garnish his wages from Rovig on Oct. 24, 2019, since he still owed all but about $44,000 of the $7.92 million in restitution. But David Rovig — identified as president of the company he gave away — said Rovig had filed for bankruptcy and Rand had resigned four days before the garnishment.

Rand filed a motion to quash a subpoena of his bank records, writing by hand, “I do not owe the said money.” A voicemail left at the phone number on that motion was returned by New Orleans attorney Geoffrey Ormsby, whose only comment was that Rand would defend against the bankruptcy trustee's "allegations and finger-pointing."

In October 2020, the government filed a “revocation recommendation as to Jeffrey Scott Rand.” But it is under seal, so we don’t know the details, and no action has been taken after more than a year.

For what it’s worth, Bill and Greg Rand are still guests of the federal Bureau of Prisons. The rest of the Rands — including Wayne, who was prosecuted in Texas state court — have been released.