David Brooks already faces from 30 years to life in...

David Brooks already faces from 30 years to life in prison for his earlier conviction in the DHB Industries case. (Jan. 18, 2008) Credit: Howard Schnapp

David Brooks, the former head of DHB Industries, the then Westbury-based manufacturer of body armor for much of the U.S. military, pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of tax evasion in federal District Court in Central Islip.

"I signed the return willingly . . . with the intent to defraud the IRS," Brooks, 56, said in response to U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert's questioning.

Brooks, who was convicted of 17 felony counts last year in relation to looting DHB, was hesitant in his explanation of what he had done illegally in the tax case.

At one point, he asked for a five-minute recess to compose himself, which the judge granted.

"Right now, I'm a little nervous," Brooks said when Seybert asked him how he was feeling.

The tax charges involved Brooks' failure to report income on $10 million in bonuses he and other employees of DHB received in 2002, 2003, and 2004, and his failure to report interest and dividend income he received those years.

As part of a plea bargain, Brooks agreed to repay $2.7 million on the tax-evasion charges. He also agreed to pay the cost to the government of prosecuting the tax case.

Brooks, in custody since January 2010, faces up to 11 years in prison on the tax charges when he is sentenced by Seybert. But he is unlikely to get that much time under federal sentencing guidelines, because he already faces from 30 years to life in prison for his earlier conviction. Federal prosecutors said Brooks plundered DHB for $185 million.

Prosecutors asked that any time Brooks gets for the tax charges run concurrently with any time for the other conviction.

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