The son of a former UC Riverside chancellor and George W. Bush Department of Energy appointee was sentenced to five years in state prison this week for repeatedly harassing his ex-girlfriend through ocregister.com.
Thomas Randolph "Randy" Orbach, 47, of Newport Beach, was essentially convicted of 42 counts of contempt of court and one count of felony stalking, which earned him two years behind bars. Violating parole in a 2008 case involving the same woman he's been stalking garnered him another three years in prison.
During a four-month period after the couple broke up, Orbach hit the woman with a pipe, punched her in the face, slashed the tires on her car, threw M-80 explosives on her roof and sent her countless e-mails and messages.
But her nightmare did not end when he was convicted in '08 on 57 counts of violating a restraining order and one count each of arson, battery, stalking and disobeying a court order.
In March 2009, he was given a suspended five-year prison sentence that included a year at the Seal Beach jail, where he was allowed to serve his time while he still worked at the financial advising firm he founded, Pacific Financial Advisors in Laguna Niguel. He was released from jail on Sept. 22 last year.
And yet, he kept harassing the poor woman with anonymous e-mails and mysterious text messages. The Orange County Register's Jon Cassidy breaks down how Orbach used ocregister.com to spread the fear:
Starting July 24, she received a series of e-mails from ocregister.com. According to police, Orbach was using a "Send to a Friend" function on the real estate listings on the Register's web site. The function allows the sender to invent an e-mail address for himself, enter a message, and send a listing to a recipient.
The sender of the messages used fake e-mail addresses that made reference to Orbach's case, such as "beendownsinceJan23@incounty.com," and "email@example.com." At first, the messages were apologetic and mournful, but by the end of the year, they turned angry, insulting, and vulgar.
The anonymous messages through ocregister.com kept coming after his March '09 conviction, a clear violation of the court order. On Monday, Orbach entered a guilty plea.
The woman and the criminal justice system were not Orbach's first victims. Cassidy writes that he has convictions dating back to 2003 for violating a family court's order, illegally firing a gun and two for cruelty to animals, the latter also having earned him jail time.
A year before his first conviction, he was by his father's side in the U.S. Senate chambers. Bush had appointed prominent theoretical physicist Raymond Lee Orbach, who'd served as chancellor of UC Riverside for a decade, the first ever Under Secretary for Science in the Department of Energy (DOE).
The minutes from the Feb. 26, 2002, Senate confirmation hearing for the senior Orbach include this exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein:
ORBACH: Thank you, Senator, for those wonderful comments and for coming here this morning. Your introduction of me is very meaningful and I am greatly appreciative. I have been honored to be nominated for this position by the President and the Secretary of Energy. My wife is back in California doing a number of chores and I am, my family is represented here by my youngest son, Randy Orbach.
FEINSTEIN: Welcome, Randy.
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ORBACH: Randy is chief trust officer for Commercial Capital Bank, the largest independent bank in Orange County. I'm very pleased that he was able to come today.
His troubled son's resume also shows stints with Mellon Bank, Merrill Lynch Trust Co. and Drexel Burnham Lambert. He founded TRO Advisors, Inc., in 2002, changing the name to Orbach Waters Advisors, Inc. in 2004 when Garrett Waters joined the firm. When Waters became a consultant to the company in March 2009, the name was changed to Pacific Financial Advisors, Inc.
The prison-bound financial advisor was also vice president of the Santa Ana College Foundation and a member of the Rancho Santiago College District Foundation.
His father, who was also appointed to head the Office of Science at the DOE during Bush's presidency, last year was appointed director of the University of Texas at Austin's Energy Institute.