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Forfeiture of ex-DHB exec's bond and bail sought

David Brooks, the ex-chief executive of body armor

David Brooks, the ex-chief executive of body armor maker DHB is facing criminal charges as well as investor lawsuits. (January 2008) Credit: Howard Schnapp

A federal prosecutor Tuesday asked that a judge order David Brooks and several of his relatives to forfeit a $400-million bond that they had guaranteed to allow the former Westbury body armor magnate to remain out on bail pending trial on 2007 charges of looting his company of $186 million.

The prosecutor, Christopher Ott, also asked Judge Joanna Seybert to order forfeited to the government the $26 million in actual bail money that Brooks -- who was chairman and chief executive of DHB Industries Inc., the largest supplier of body armor to U.S. armed forces -- had personally put up to secure the $400-million bond.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ott's requests came at a hearing in federal district court in Central Islip. Brooks was arrested in the past week and jailed for allegedly violating the conditions of his bail by concealing from the government and Seybert millions of dollars of assets overseas.

Seybert said she would reserve decision and would issue an opinion later.

After the bail and bond hearing, Seybert began jury selection for the security fraud trial of Brooks and his co-defendant, Sandra Hatfield. Former chief operating officer of DHB, she also is charged with fraud in cheating the company. The trial is expected to start next week.

Seybert's initial decision to jail Brooks was based on an affidavit by an FBI agent that he had manufactured three schemes to hide the money overseas. The agent, Angela Jett, said the schemes involved setting up shell companies to funnel money to a bank in San Marino, a  republic inside Italy; to conceal money in a Swiss bank account; and to hide $3.6 million in a London safe depository.

Brooks' lead attorney, Kenneth Ravenell, argued to the judge that Brooks should be allowed out on bail because the government's allegations about his concealing money was based on the "slimmest of reeds, on speculation."

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