Body armor magnate David Brooks, convicted of looting his Westbury company and masterminding a massive stock fraud scheme to pay for a lavish life, died Thursday in Connecticut, days after being transferred from a federal detention center in Miami, his attorney said.
Brooks, 61, once the chief executive of DHB Industries Inc., got sick Thursday at the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, and was taken to a hospital, said Richard Klugh, his federal appeals attorney in Miami.
“It was sudden and unexpected,” Klugh said.
He was serving a 17-year sentence and his attorney said what led up to his death was not clear but that the prison is expected to issue a report. Prison officials did not immediately comment.
A federal jury in 2010 convicted Brooks in a 17-count indictment that included conspiracy; securities, wire and mail fraud; insider trading; and obstruction of justice. He looted $6 million from his company and was accused of making $185 million by inflating the stock price of his company, which sold body armor for U.S. troops and bullet-resistant vests to police departments.
Prosecutors said this funded a lavish life, from an $8 million bat mitzvah for his daughter to a $101,000 belt buckle in the shape of an American flag, encrusted with diamonds, rubies and sapphires.
Brooks was appealing the conviction.
As he had requested, Brooks was transferred to the Danbury prison this week so he could be closer to his family, who live in the metropolitan area, Klugh said.
The attorney said he and Brooks’ family learned of the businessman’s death Friday morning.
Klugh said he was not aware of any life-threatening health issues for Brooks but said his client was taking prescribed medications for certain conditions.
“I do have some concerns that his medications were changed and whether that precipitated what happened,” Klugh said.
The attorney declined to detail those conditions, citing health privacy laws, but a psychiatrist testified during the trial that the businessman suffered from bipolar disorder and hallucinations.
Klugh said it was hard to accept that a man who was so vibrant is gone: “He was talented and interesting and a person who loved life.”
With Robert Kessler