In auction of fraudsters' treasures, guitars the stars

More than $350K raised in sale of vintage Les Pauls, Strats; proceeds to go to investors scammed by Rand family

By Darla Mercado

Nov 2, 2012 @ 3:20 pm (Updated 4:57 pm) EST

Nice ax: A 1959 Gibson Les Paul
Nice ax: A 1959 Gibson Les Paul (Photo: Rumbleseatmusic.com)

The Rand family, which orchestrated an oil and gas investment fraud, clearly were a musical bunch.

Gregory Keith Rand, his brother, William Nicholas Rand, and their father, William Anthony Rand, were sentenced last year to federal prison for their role in an oil and gas well investment scheme. Greg Rand was sentenced to 18 years in prison, while Bill Rand received a 14-year sentence. Their father was sent away for five and a half years.

The men were also ordered to pay nearly $100 million in restitution. Toward that, items belonging to the family went on the block in an auction held Oct. 27. The stars of the show: a pair of vintage left-handed Gibson Les Paul Sunburst guitars, one from 1959 and one from 1960. Together, the two guitars fetched nearly $330,000.

Meanwhile, a pair of vintage left-handed Fender Stratocasters, also belonging to the Rands of Dallas and Plano, Texas, went for $26,000.

The younger Rands were officers at Aspen Exploration Inc., the managing partner of oil and gas well programs offered to investors. The elder Rand was the company's financial manager. The Justice Department charged Aspen and the Rands with making misrepresentations to investors, including stating that funds would be put toward drilling and testing wells.

The money going toward the wells actually wound up in Aspen's bank accounts, and investors' dollars went toward the defendants' own benefit, according to the Justice Department.

When the men were sentenced in July 2011, they also were ordered to forfeit “numerous” pieces of personal property, including an original Picasso, boats, luxury vehicles and expensive jewelry — and, of course, the guitars.

Ted Steinke, an attorney for William Anthony Rand, and Ron Goranson, who represented William Nicholas Rand, had no comment. A call to Christopher Curtis, who represented Greg Rand, was not immediately returned.

  @IN Wire

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