Former Millionaire Randy Orbach Says His Nonprofit Will Help Fellow Convicts Find a Job After Prison

Former Millionaire Randy Orbach Says His Nonprofit Will Help Fellow Convicts Find a Job After Prison
Design: Dustin Ames

In a Newport Beach café not far from the little white house he rents in Newport Heights, Thomas "Randy" Orbach talks freely about a "crazy" time in his life.

"When it came to guys in prison, I used to think, 'Fuck 'em; lock 'em up and throw away the key,'" he says. Now, with his Medici Foundation, "We can make a lot of difference in people's lives."

Online readers of the Weekly may know something about it. Orbach, a former investment banker, is the subject of a March 3, 2010, Navel Gazing blog post titled "Ex-Bush Official's Son Headed to Prison for ocregister.com Harassment." The story describes how Orbach, the son of a former UC Riverside chancellor and George W. Bush administration Department of Energy director, was sentenced to five years in state prison for repeatedly harassing and physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend. A judge later suspended the sentence and allowed Orbach to spend his days working as a financial adviser in Laguna Niguel and a year's worth of nights in the private Seal Beach city jail.

But after leaving jail, Orbach was busted for violating parole by contacting the woman through The Orange County Register's online real-estate listings, which included a "Send to a Friend" function that allowed a user to create an email address, enter a message for someone who might be interested in a particular property, and then send the listing to that person. Orbach used it to send his ex personal messages that devolved from apologetic and mournful to insulting and vulgar. Orbach also met with his ex-girlfriend in person. All of it was enough to break his probation and send him to state prison for the full five-year stretch, although he got a year off for the time already served in Seal Beach.

Now paddling a piece of breakfast pastry on his plate, the 51-year-old father of two who at one time led a $10 million company he founded only to see it implode, makes it clear he did the things that he was accused of doing and he deserved to go to prison.

But Orbach swears he's not the man he was back then.

"When it came to guys in prison, I used to think, 'Fuck 'em; lock 'em up and throw away the key,'" he says, not long after having described his latest venture, which came to him while he sat in prison.

Called the Medici Foundation, the nonprofit will serve as a bank that converts charitable contributions into job opportunities in inner cities and places such as Santa Ana, Orbach explains. The idea is to ultimately help some of those he served alongside in the California corrections system. "We can make a lot of difference in people's lives," he says.

He knows—his is one of them.

*     *     *

Orbach was born in Boston, where his physicist father Raymond Orbach had been teaching at MIT. Randy was just a year old when his parents and sister moved to Pacific Palisades so they would be closer to Los Angeles-born Raymond's new job as a professor at UCLA.

The younger Orbach graduated from Pacific Palisades High School and attended UCLA, where his father rose to become the provost and later the chancellor at UC Riverside, whose science library would be named in his honor. The elder Orbach spent eight years of the Bush administration overseeing the Department of Energy. When the Energy Policy Act of 2005 created the position of Under Secretary for Science, George W. Bush nominated Ray as the country's first; he served in that role from 2006 to '09. He's now a professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Randy was different. While the father had no interest in business, the son had none in science. Nor did the younger Orbach like LA much, moving to Orange County in the mid-1980s after he'd "had enough." He was hired at a local office of Shearson-Lehman but despised working with mortgages. So he walked in cold to Drexel Burnham Lambert and got hired "on the spot."

He married in 1987, and the union produced two children before ending in divorce. Dylan, 19, now lives in the Lake Tahoe area, and Nicole, 24, is a hair stylist in Newport Beach.

Orbach stayed at Drexel Burnham Lambert for four years before moving on to the Orange County offices of Union Bank, Mellon Bank and Merrill Lynch. In 1998, he started his own "boutique bank," with clients who, Orbach says, were so wealthy they did not need to borrow money, the mechanism that is the lifeblood of banks. Instead, he found himself simply managing wealth, and those he started the bank with were using it as a "country club hangout." So Orbach sold his interest in 2000. "I saw the writing on the wall; it was never going to grow," he says. "It's kind of sad because we started from scratch. It was a great learning experience."

He founded TRO Advisors Inc. in 2002, and the name eventually evolved to Pacific Financial Advisors Inc., the Laguna Niguel company he was allowed to go back to work at while serving his original jail sentence in Seal Beach. By then, he'd also served as vice president of the Santa Ana College Foundation and was a member of the Rancho Santiago College District Foundation. And while working on the trust-fund side at Merrill Lynch, he had overseen 20 different charitable funds and family foundations at once.

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32 comments
crabbyme
crabbyme

Now for a update on Mr. Orbach looks like he is back in jail... for what you might  ask  well  he was Stalking once again.. Hmmmm looks like there was no lesson learned. He's in court today.. 

fixithair
fixithair

What can I do to help?  This is a program I can believe in.

pra2291
pra2291

Oooooooh Noooooo...  The reason they don't have rehab for white collar dudes, is because they have personality disorders that cannot be changed.  Genetic monsters.  Horrible for the family.  Hope and a short leash is about all you can give them, or you, when one of these guys is in your karmic circle.  I know.  My ex husband is in "camp" for a huge "Madoff-esque" explosion in 2003.  The Medici's were evil.  He might want to rethink the name.... Also, generosity, flipped over?  It's called greed.  And greed can be for anything:  money, attention, love...food, drugs, more attention. 


I wish him luck. 

jsph_bourdeau
jsph_bourdeau

This guy's nothing but a con artist , and  the Medicis were actually an  Italian Mafia family . 

Whackadoodle
Whackadoodle

Looks Shifty. Spoiled Child and he's still getting attention. Stop it. LOL

Pacific Financial Hires Criminals ??? Stay away from them too.

sandy
sandy

Not surprised that this guy admitted to animal abuse when he was young.  Being a privileged white kid probably kept him under the radar for a long time. 

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

Once a businessman always a criminal except to the cops that are criminals themselves.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

Wasn't a problem for my old employer back in '09 - He took the State of California for 10.2 Million for workers comp fraud, didn't pay his employees their final paychecks and went to prison himself for the crimes of giving state guard cards to known felons in New York to guard the Statue of Liberty with on Government contracts. Turns out he was an Egyptian immigrant transplant.

His partner business manager went with him on weapons possession charges and a few other things. I lost at least $1400.00 in final pay over that one when the FBI raided the offices. Over 200 guards lost their jobs and pay. 

Rossinonte
Rossinonte

Obsessive and Compulsive. Investors beware...

1000Steps
1000Steps

Wife beating banker aids Liberal cause? And that's how quick OCWeekly flips.

TB12345
TB12345

Randy is not telling the truth, he has not talked to his children for years and if you look into public records ,you will find the truth. Also, I find it interesting that this sisters name is not given or that article does not bring up his brother. The reason is because his brother is an attorney and his sister is in public office (lawsuits?). But, he gives his children's names, although he got his sons age incorrect. His children are trying to move on with their lives they did not ask to be dragged into his public cry to get money for his business so he can once again be a millionaire .

Randy, is the same man he was before going to prison. Still trying to be something he is not, still lying, still has no relationship with his children, his ex-wife still has restraining order due to death threats, and has never said sorry to anyone he has hurt.

Randy wrote "I deserved to be in prison and take ownership" another lie sorry has never come out of his mouth. If he really wanted to help he would get a job and pay taxes. He talked about the fact he does not like where our tax dollars have gone. What? Our tax dollars went to him working up to 10,000 push-ups a day.

Randy if you don't miss the cars and the house, why you driving a BMW?

jimgilchrist
jimgilchrist

Randy Orbach is making a move in the right direction.  Instead of carrying the burden of anger after release from prison, he is carrying a torch of positive thinking and redemption.  


Good people, perhaps in the heat of passion, from time to time do things they later regret.   In Randy's case, he served five years in prison as the consequence of his actions.  His debt to society and the rule of law has been paid in full.


Randy Orbach would not be the first felon I have heard about who has followed jail time with a very successful career.  He deserves commendation, not condemnation.



Jim Gilchrist, Founder and President, The Minuteman Project

JGlanton
JGlanton topcommenter

I tried to do a good thing and hire an ex-con once.  It ended up in disaster, and a huge amount of after hours work on my part unraveling a legal mess. Never again.

mcraft
mcraft

I applaud Randy and his efforts at changing his path and the course of his, and others', lives. His foundation is a novel and necessary one.

Burqueno_By_The_Bay
Burqueno_By_The_Bay

Or you could get a real job like most people who stay out of trouble. Youŕe just not as smart as you think you are.

melobydsea
melobydsea

@crabbyme Now I am not shocked. Maybe he can get a date in jail.


melobydsea
melobydsea

@pra2291 He needs more then luck, If you get out of prison and comet the very same crime you have a mental problem.... and his poor victim she has done nothing now she has to live her life looking over her shoulder. 

TB12345
TB12345

I want to clarify something, Randy has talked to this kids text,ect. Yes, he made contact. However, no apology, no admitting any wrong doing, not even a sorry for disowning them and threatening them. They do not have the relationship Randy lied about in this article.

lucien.alacard28
lucien.alacard28

@JGlanton

I rent and have rented to two felons since 2007.

They have always paid their rent and are sex offenders on top of that.


 
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