A civil suit against Compass Academy founder Jonathan “Jay” Brooks has been voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff, according to Aiken County court records.
Sandra Fadeley filed a notice of voluntary dismissal with the Aiken County Clerk of Court on April 4.
“Plaintiff Sandra Fadeley filed her initial complaint directly on March 8, 2013,” the document stated. “Service upon the Defendant was executed on or around April 1, 2013. Since that time, no responsive pleadings have been filed by any Defendants. For this reason, Plaintiff now voluntarily dismisses the action, without prejudice.”
Fadeley filed the suit last year, claiming that Brooks forged her signature, badly, when he sold all of her stocks and invested the money in his Compass Academy project.
One of the attorneys representing Fadeley said the dismissal doesn't necessarily mean the end of Fadeley's pursuit to recover damages.
“We've dismissed the case without prejudice, and we are trying to decide if it is in her best interest to join her in other pending lawsuits, or file a separate suit dealing with separate entities,” said Trey Harrell, of the Strom Law Firm in Columbia.
The original complaint states that Fadeley became a client of Brooks and his companies in January 2013. Brooks reportedly took control of her funds, and soon after, “without Plaintiff's knowledge of consent, sold all stocks owned by” Fadeley. This allegedly unrequested sale cost the defendant capital gains tax and broker fees, the complaint stated. On Feb. 19, 2013, again without the consent of Fadeley, Brooks allegedly forged the signature of his client and transferred the funds to an account of Compass Academy, according to the documents.
“This is not the signature of the Plaintiff as Plaintiff does not sign her name this way and ‘Sandy' is misspelled on the document,” the complaint stated. Fadeley reportedly truncates her name to Sandi – not Sandy.
Brooks was arrested in July by the S.C. 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.
Brooks is accused of taking investment money for a fictional entity called the “Charles Howell Trust,” and instead converting the funds for his personal use. He was later released after posting a $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 faces a number of other civil suits. According to the Aiken County court index, Brooks and his wife Tracy are each representing themselves.
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard.