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Debt, allegations and e-books: Battle between Alberta lotto winner and entrepreneur rages on

A longstanding battle between an Alberta entrepreneur and a $50-million lottery winner is still raging after a new legal judgment, a securities investigation, allegations of harassment and even duelling ebooks.

Jeremy Crawford ordered to pay $273K to firm that defended him in lawsuit with lotto winner Randall Rush

Entrepreneur Jeremy Crawford (left) settled a lawsuit with investor and lottery winner Randall Rush (right) in 2016. (Facebook/CBC)

A longstanding battle between an Alberta entrepreneur and a $50-million lottery winner is still raging after a new legal judgment, a recent securities investigation, allegations of harassment and even duelling e-books.

These are the latest in a breakdown of a business relationship involving Randall Rush, a former resident of Lamont, Alta. who won a $50-million lottery prize in 2015, and Jeremy and Amy Crawford, who started a mobile app company Rush invested in.

In February, the Crawfords were ordered by Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench to pay the law firm that defended them in a lawsuit against Rush.

The couple owe more than $274,000 in outstanding legal fees and accumulating interest to Mill Woods Law in Arizona, according to a default judgment filed on Feb. 26.

The Crawfords filed no statement of defence. Mill Woods Law has not responded to interview requests.

It's another legal blow for the couple who reached a settlement in 2016 that required them to return $4.5 million in assets to Rush.

"It has been a challenging climb mentally and financially since settling with Mr. Rush back in 2016," Jeremy Crawford wrote in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

"However, we are working hard to recoup our losses and look forward to repaying our debts."

Crawford's activities have also caught the eye of authorities after a complaint from Rush. The Alberta Securities Commission conducted an investigation regarding investment allegations of a criminal nature over several months last year, according to sources.

The ASC will not confirm, citing securities laws, and the current status of the investigation is not known.

'We are aware that the ASC has looked into Rush's complaint against us from April of 2019," Crawford said. "Upon learning this, we reached out and spoke with them, and have heard nothing since."

List of debts to repay

In 2016, Rush sued the Crawfords in both Canada and the United States after investing $4.5 million of his lottery winnings in their startup tech company, Kult iD. 

In his lawsuit, Rush alleges he was persuaded to invest based on fraudulent representations made by the couple.The Crawfords denied the charge, saying Rush sued after a falling out. They eventually reached the out-of-court settlement, agreeing to return to Rush $4.5 million including a Porsche Cayenne and a luxury home in Arizona.
In the settlement, Randall Rush recovered this Arizona luxury home where the Crawfords once lived.

This is the latest in a list of repayments for the couple, many of which have been ordered by the courts, documents show.

In July 2016, they were ordered by a San Diego court to pay $30,556 in past-due rent and other costs. Judgments in Alberta in 2013 showed the Crawfords owed more than $14,000 to two Alberta landlords. That same year, a court ordered the seizure of Jeremy's property due to almost $86,000 in outstanding income tax payments. In the early 2000s, he was convicted of petty theft and fraud. 

Crawford says he wrote a few bad cheques when he was younger and didn't deal with the issues. The money owed in income tax was due to the actions of a former business partner, he said. 

Harassment allegations

The battle between Rush and the Crawfords hasn't just been over money. The Crawfords have obtained two orders in the past four years, and Crawford said he filed a harassment complaint with RCMP last week.

Court documents show the couple obtained a restraining order against Rush in Arizona in 2016 and in Alberta from Oct. 2017 to Jan. 2020.

In their applications, they said Rush mailed personal letters to their daughters at their former San Diego home, and messaged one girl on social media, telling them they didn't look like their parents.

The Crawfords said Rush set up a real estate sign on their lawn and was caught on security video violating a protective order.

"We are very concerned about the safety of our family," Jeremy Crawford wrote in the 2017 application filed in court.

Asked about the allegations, Rush provided CBC News with a brief statement.

"I invite your readers to do their own research and come to their own conclusions," he wrote in an email.

Duelling authors

The saga of Rush and Crawford continues online where both men have penned e-books telling their version of events.

Crawford said Start Up King is about his journey as a startup entrepreneur and the details of his latest startup.

Rush's book, Bloodsuckers, was released by his new publishing company. In an interview, Rush said he launched Rantanna Media to raise awareness about the devastating impact of white-collar crime on the victims and drive legislative change.

"If you talk to some of these people, they've never really fully recovered," Rush said. "With credit to the good people in our law enforcement, a lot of times their hands are tied."

About the Author

Andrea Huncar

Reporter

Andrea Huncar reports on human rights, immigrant and Indigenous communities, youth at-risk and the justice system. Contact her in confidence at andrea.huncar@cbc.ca

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