Last month, Michael T. Rand was found guilty of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, making false and misleading statements to auditors and accountants, circumventing internal accounting controls, and falsifying books, records, and accounts of Atlanta-based Beazer Homes USA, Inc., of which Rand was the chief accounting officer. Rand was originally tried in 2011, but that trial was vacated because of juror misconduct.
Following the two-week trial in U.S. District Court, jurors also convicted him of engaging in a wire fraud conspiracy, impairing a grand jury investigation, obstructing an official proceeding and lying to hinder an investigation. Rand orchestrated "a scheme to commit securities fraud and create false books and records at Beazer by practicing 'cookie jar accounting'" between 2000 and 2007. When the company's earnings exceeded market expectations, Rand lowered Beazer's net income by fraudulently increasing certain expenses and setting the money aside. When profits fell, Rand jacked up the earnings report by raiding what was in the jar.
Rand faces a maximum penalty of 85 years in prison and a $1.35 million fee. He will be sentenced at a later date.
Rand was indicted in 2010 and accused of illegally hiding company profits, concocting phony financial statements and destroying thousands of emails to block federal investigators. He was convicted a year later. In 2013, U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad of Charlotte ordered a new trial after learning that two of Rand's jurors had Googled the term "reasonable doubt" during deliberations. One of the two also admitted reading news stories about the Rand case and how some local communities built by Beazer had been crippled by foreclosures.