Another victim of Compass Academy founder Jonathan “Jay” Brooks' alleged fraud has come forward, according to the Aiken Department of Public Safety.
A 54-year-old North Augusta woman filed a report last week in which she stated she invested $200,000 with Brooks through his firm Brooks Financial. The investment was with the Charles Howell Trust, and the victim said she received two draws in the amount of $20,000 each in January 2012 and January 2013.
The victim told police she went to work in Brooks' office on April 30, 2012, as his office manager and was laid off March 26, 2013.
“She then learned that the investment company she had invested in did not exist,” the incident report stated.
The victim provided police with a copy of the $200,000 check and copies of the checks she received when she made a draw from the investment, according to the report. One check was from the account of “J. Brooks Financial Corp.” and the other was from the account of “J. Brooks.”
The report was forwarded to the S.C. Attorney General's office. It is the second report filed with Aiken Public Safety regarding alleged fraud by Brooks.
A North Augusta man reported in June that he wrote two checks – one for $30,000 and the other for about $180,000 – to Brooks to go toward Compass Academy, a private school Brooks and his wife Tracy were trying to start. The man said he'd been contacted by the attorney general about Brooks and was told to file a report.
The victim said one of the bonds had matured, but that Brooks never sent him a check for that amount.
Additionally, that victim said Brooks allegedly forged his signature on several documents, according to the report.
Brooks was arrested in July by the attorney general's office on one count of securities fraud; however, an Aiken County grand jury returned four indictments in November: two for securities fraud, one for forgery and one for a violation of the Securities Act by making false or misleading statements to the securities commissioner. He is accused of taking investment money for a fictional entity called the “Charles Howell Trust” and instead converting the funds for his personal use.
Brooks was later released after posting $100,000 bond.
Brooks, his wife and his companies are accused by the 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 purchase groceries, their home, jewelry and vacations, rather than investing them.
Brooks also faces a number of civil suits.
A state-appointed receiver found that finishing construction of Compass Academy and opening the school was not feasible, and recommended the school be placed up for auction. The 53,000-square-foot facility was scheduled to be auctioned in October; however, a buyer purchased the building the day before the scheduled auction.
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts 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.