An Aiken businessman was arrested Friday on a felony charge of securities fraud.
Jonathan “Jay” Warren Brooks was arrested after being accused of taking investment money for an entity called the Charles Howell Trust, according to a statement from the office of South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.
The trust account was found to be fictional, and Brooks took the money, the statement said.
Brooks was assigned a surety bond of $500,000 at a hearing held at the Richland County General Sessions Court.
Mark Powell, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, could not say whether Brooks’ arrest was connected to civil complaints filed against Compass Academy, a $9 million private school Brooks and his wife were launching in Aiken County. The attorney general’s office does not comment on criminal investigations, Powell said.
In March, a restraining order filed in the Fifth District of South Carolina Court of Common Pleas froze the accounts belonging to Brooks, J. Brooks Financial Inc., Brooks Real Estate Holdings and Compass Academy.
Brooks’ assets were placed in the control of a court-appointed receiver and his state registrations as a financial adviser and broker-agent were suspended. The complaints were under investigation as a civil matter.