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Compass Academy founder indicted on four counts

Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 1:53 PM
Last updated 8:07 PM
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The founder of a failed private school in Aiken has been indicted, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said Friday.

An Aiken County grand jury returned four indictments against Jonathan “Jay” Warren Brooks. He was indicted on two counts of securities fraud – one alleging he took investments for a fictional entity called the Charles Howell Trust but instead converted the money for his personal use, and the second that he “improperly and without permission” diverted investment funds for the benefit of Compass Academy.

Brooks, who was arrested in July, also was indicted on a forgery charge, accused of forging the signature of an investor on a financial document. Additionally, he was indicted on a charge of violating the Securities Act by making false or misleading statements to the securities commissioner.

A former financial adviser, Brooks planned to open Compass Academy on a 30-acre lot at 1200 Toolebeck Road in August. The 53,000-square-foot building was placed under contract Oct. 24, two days before it was to be auctioned.

Earlier this year, Brooks was accused by state regulators of fraud and misuse of investors’ funds in financing the school. A restraining order filed in the 5th 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.

According to a civil complaint filed in April by the state attorney general’s office, Brooks and his wife, Tracy Brooks, used investor money to buy groceries, pay credit card bills and purchase luxuries, including a $21,000 diamond ring.

Columbia lawyer Sherri Lydon was appointed by the court as the receiver over Compass Academy and the assets of the Brookses.

Each felony count carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and possible fines.

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Dixieman 11/01/13 - 02:56 pm
Told ya' so

Don't like to brag, but I saw this coming from the very first story about Compass Academy last year.

David Parker
David Parker 11/01/13 - 03:03 pm
Tried to ride Mr. Howell's

Tried to ride Mr. Howell's name to imply it was legit. Not good at all sir.

Bizkit 11/01/13 - 03:57 pm
Fraud by deception. Isn't

Fraud by deception. Isn't that the same thing Obama did with the ACA=period. So this guy will likely go to prison. Obama well the story isn't over yet, but likely he will never be punished for his crime.

justputtin 11/02/13 - 12:01 am
Agreed bizkit

He has too many that are sipping the koolaid. Doubt they ever get to him, he'll play the race card and claim he "didn't know" - his fav reply.

nocnoc 11/02/13 - 05:29 am
Dazed and Confused

I thought happen many months ago when this came to light?

curly123053 11/02/13 - 09:01 am

If it sounds to good to be true....look out!! This idea for a school could have been a positive thing, but it appears the planner had greed on his mind. He hurt lot's of people through his greed and fraud. I hope he does serious time.

Dixieman 11/04/13 - 04:19 am
to nocnoc

He was investigated and the SC attorney general's securities enforcer filed a civil suit against him freezing the money on hand, barring him from some activities, etc. when this was first uncovered several months ago as explained in the article, but these are the first CRIMINAL charges, which are harder to bring and prove.

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