Another alleged victim has come forward with accusations of fraud and forgery toward Compass Academy and its founders, according to the Aiken Department of Public Safety.
The complainant, a North Augusta resident, told officers he wrote two checks to Jay Brooks of Brooks Financial to go toward bonds for Compass Academy, the private school Brooks was trying to start along with his wife Tracy, according to a police report. The checks were written for $30,000 and $180,209.62.
“(The complainant) said that he had been contacted by the Attorney General about Jay Brooks and was told to file a report,” the report stated.
The complainant told officers he had contacted Brooks regarding the checks “and (Brooks) was unable to provide (the victim) with any paperwork concerning his previous checks,” according to the report. The alleged victim said one of his bonds had matured, the report stated, but that Brooks never sent him a check for that amount.
The complainant also alleged that Brooks forged his name on several documents, and pointed out to police how the signatures on the documents did not match the signature on the back of the complainant’s driver’s license, according to the report.
Brooks, his wife and his companies, J. Brooks Financial and Brooks Real Estate Holdings, are accused by the S.C. Attorney General of illegally selling unregistered securities to fund the establishment of Compass Academy.
They are also accused by the Securities Division of the Attorney General’s Office of using those funds to buy groceries, their home, vacations and jewelry, rather than investing them.
Aiken resident Sandra Fadeley also has filed a civil suit in Circuit Court claiming that Brooks forged her signature, badly, when he sold all of her stocks and invested the money in Compass Academy.
Jay Brooks is also facing a civil suit filed by the Caniglia Management Group.
The Group, along with Thomas and Joshua Caniglia, allege in the suit filed in Aiken that the Brookses were in breach of contract with them. According to the suit, they were hired by Jay and Tracy Brooks to assist with selecting property for Compass Academy, contract with an architect and aid in acquiring the correct zoning permits to build and interact with utilities and to act as a liaison between “contractors, builders and architects and city, county and state officials.”
The group’s lawsuit alleges they were to be paid a fee equal to 5 percent of the project’s total cost, or $350,000 in contractually set increments. But, the suit alleges, they had only received $17,000 in June 2012, when they were told their “services were no longer needed because the Texas investors had refused to permit any further payments.”
When asked if the Attorney General’s Office is contacting investors and instructing them to file police reports, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office declined to comment.
“We are unable to comment on our actions we are taking right now,” she said. “It’s not our policy to comment on open cases.”
A phone call seeking comment from Brooks’ attorney was not immediately returned on Monday afternoon.
The court-appointed receiver of Compass Academy’s assets recently determined that it was not feasible to get the school up and running for the 2013-2014 school year and has been given approval to market and list the buildings and property at the school.
A group of investors has plans to buy back the building, raise funding to complete it and have it open by fall of 2014.
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012. He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.