Brooks jailed in Aiken County; Texas files detainer
Compass Academy founder Jay Brooks is now being held in the Aiken County detention center after his bond was revoked last week; however, Texas authorities have filed a detainer on Brooks indicating they still wish to charge him, officials said on Wednesday.
Brooks' bond was revoked last week at a hearing in Lexington on allegations that he swindled an elderly woman out of more than $10,000 while living in Texas as a condition of his bond. Assistant Attorney General Brian Petrano said during the hearing that Texas authorities sent him an email stating that they planned to “withdraw” the charges against Brooks, but a judge ruled to revoke Brooks' bond until the Texas warrants were withdrawn.
Brooks was placed in the Lexington County jail and was brought to Aiken County on May 20.
A spokesman for the S.C. Attorney General's office said on Wednesday that Texas authorities have filed a detainer on Brooks, which they were made aware of on Wednesday. Additional details were not available by press time on Wednesday.
Brooks was arrested in July 2013 and charged with one count of securities fraud; however, a grand jury later returned indictments on additional charges. His bond was reduced from $500,000 to $100,000, and as a condition, he was allowed to take his family to an unknown part of Texas.
A motion for bond revocation alleges that Brooks, acting as an investment adviser, told a 72-year-old woman from Texas that he would roll over $10,900 of her money into an IRA, but he instead cashed the check and converted the money to personal use.
Petrano said during last week's hearing that Brooks reportedly paid back the victim $8,000 with a promissory note to pay back the rest, but the Attorney General's office still wanted to revoke bond.
Brooks' attorney, Todd Rutherford, said during the hearing that the incident was a “misunderstanding.”
“(The victim) made it clear to the officer that it was a misunderstanding, that it was not what he alleged it to be,” Rutherford said. “She made it clear that she didn't want to pursue criminal charges in the beginning. ... Mr. Brooks has not done anything criminal to violate his bond.”
A message left with Rutherford was not immediately returned on Wednesday evening.
The case is expected to go to trial in Aiken in October.
The warrant for Brooks' arrest last year alleges that he took investment money for a fictional entity called the Charles Howell Trust, but instead converted the funds for his personal use.
Brooks, his wife Tracy and his companies have been accused by the Attorney General's office of illegally selling unregistered securities to fund the establishment of their school, Compass Academy. They have also been 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. They face a number of civil suits, as well.
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.