Like a bad penny, Guy B. Rencher II, who swindled local investors out of millions during 2000-2001, has reappeared as one of the public faces of a West Linn, OR-based business.
The October 2019 issue of Lake Oswego Living magazine, produced by N2 Publishing, features a 2-page ”business spotlight” spread on the local owners of Action Northwest, an exterior home maintenance company. Prominently featured on the first page of the story is a color photo of Guy Rencher, a manager at the company, and his wife, Meadena., the owner.
“We caught up with these good local folks who own and run Action Northwest learn more about their services,” the Lake Oswego Living magazine said.
Good local folks?
That’s not the way a lot of folks defrauded of more than $7 million by Guy B. Rencher II see it.
In 2002, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) filed a civil suit against against Guy Rencher, The Rencher Law Firm LLP, Paul James Peiffer of Aloha and Robert J. Skirving of Portland alleging securities fraud and other violations of Oregon Securities Law. Assistant Attorney General Daniel H. Rosenhouse and Special Assistant Attorney General Caroline L. Smith litigated the case for DCBS.
During 2000 and 2001, Rencher and two associates, Robert Skirving and Paul James Peiffer, sold more than $7 million of illegal investments to multiple investors, promising them high risk-free returns. Many of the investors were Portland-area residents, and some were clients of Rencher’s law firm. Most invested at least $100,000. Some invested substantially more, $3.5 million in one case.
Investors purchased ownership interests in limited liability companies formed by Rencher and his law firm. Rencher used some investor funds to purchase certificates of deposit issued by a purported off-shore bank called Bank of the Nations, controlled by Peiffer and Skirving, and collected more than $300,000 in “management fees.”
But Rencher, Peiffer and Skirving were running a con game that took advantage of too-trusting people. DCBS officials said the three men were not licensed to sell securities and none of the securities they sold were registered.
On Aug. 6, 2003, Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris excoriated both Guy Rencher and his wife, Meadena Rencher, for their conduct.
“Debtor has fallen far short of providing complete disclosure, and his failure to do so is attributable to a deliberate and concerted effort to withhold information,” Perris wrote. “The number and magnitude of the inaccuracies in debtor’s bankruptcy papers are, as the trustee’s attorney said during his opening statement, staggering. This is especially true considering that debtor is an experienced attorney and businessman and that he has had the benefit of being represented by an experienced bankruptcy attorney.”
“Debtor’s conduct leading up to trial was marked by a lack of cooperation and obstructiveness,” Perris added. “At trial, debtor did not directly answer the questions posed to him. Instead, he testified with calculated evasiveness. When debtor did testify directly as to relevant matters, I often found him not to be credible.”
Perris also took Guy Rencher’s wife, Meadena, to task. “Debtor’s wife, Meadena Rencher, also testified at trial,” Perris wrote. “I found her credibility to be equally suspect…I also found Mrs. Rencher’s testimony on other points to be evasive, rehearsed and generally unbelievable.”
On Oct. 15, 2003, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Frank L. Bearden ordered Guy Rencher, his law firm, Peiffer and Skirving to pay more than $2.3 million in fines and sanctions for scores of fraudulent securities transactions in what Bearden referred to as “a classic Ponzi-type scheme.”
Rencher was also fined $20,000 per violation for each of 16 violations involving misrepresentation to investors. The Rencher Law Firm LLP was fined $5,000 for each of 23 counts of selling unregistered securities. Total Rencher and Rencher law firm fines: $435,000.
The Oregon Department of Justice has not responded to a request for information on payments by Rencher, if any, of the fines ordered by Judge Bearden.
But Guy Rencher, who was already morally bankrupt, has avoided reimbursing the investors deceived by his schemes by filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.
A graduate of Redmond High School in Central Oregon, Rencher started college and then went on a two-year Spanish-speaking mission for the LDS Church in Chicago, according to information he posted on his Redmond High School class of 1970 reunion page. He subsequently graduated from Brigham Young University in 1977 and then Willamette University College of Law. He was admitted to practice in Oregon in 1980.
In a Profile he posted to a Redmond High School Class of 1970 website, he wrote: “I mostly practiced law from 1980 in my own small firm in Corvallis and Portland until I retired from law practice in 2002.”
“Retired” hardly told the whole story.
According to the Oregon State Bar, at the time of his resignation from the bar a formal disciplinary proceeding was pending against him for violations of the disciplinary rules involving multiple matters, including:
- DR 1-102(A)(2) (criminal conduct reflecting adversely on a lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice);
- DR 1-102(A)(3) (dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation); DR 1-103(C) (failure to cooperate with disciplinary authorities);
- DR 5-101(A) (lawyer self-interest conflict);
- DR 7-102(A)(3) (concealing or failing to reveal that which the lawyer is required by law to reveal);
- DR 7-102(A)(5) (knowingly making a false statement of fact);
- DR 7-106(A) (disregarding a standing rule or ruling of a tribunal);
- ORS 9.527(1) (commission of an act or course of conduct that would preclude admission) and ORS 9.527(4) (willful deceit).
Guy Rencher’s resignation from the Oregon Bar was accepted by the Oregon Supreme Court effective Dec. 7, 2004. (Rencher was also once registered as a member of the State Bar of Texas, but he has been suspended for an “Administrative” reason and is not eligible to practice in Texas.)
Now living in a $500,000 home in West Linn and working as a manager at Action Northwest (a.k.a. Action Window & Gutter Cleaning, LLC), Guy Rencher appears to have emerged successfully from his transgressions. His investors haven’t been so lucky.
Donald J. and Michelle Yvonne (Shellie) Freund of Lake Tapps, WA, who invested $200,000 with Rencher, filed for bankruptcy in Dec. 2000 and never recovered any of their investment.
Philip Harker of Highland, Utah sought to recover $587,500 invested with Rencher. He recovered $0.
Joy Vandervelden died on Dec. 13, 2002 at age 88, without having recovered any of the $3,350,000 million she invested in Rencher’s scheme.
Even the Oregon Golf Club in West Linn was stiffed. Rencher owed the Club $18,544..16. It recovered nothing.
Guy wrote in his Redmond High School profile, “Life has been a lot of things, some expected, some unexpected, but it hasn’t ever been boring!”
Certainly not for his victims, many of whose whose lives were changed unalterably by his greed and perfidy..