If he or his associates could have correctly spelled "unanimous," alleged corporate looter David Brooks might have gotten away with a scheme to have his body-armor company pay for $5 million in personal expenses, including a $101,000 jewel-encrusted belt buckle, a federal prosecutor said Monday.
There was one document that Brooks used in 2005 that he claimed was from 1997 that authorized him to be compensated for personal expenses, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Ott said in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.
That document allegedly said the company's compensation committee gave "unaimous" consent to have his personal expenses paid by the company.
Ott said that the only other major document in which unanimous is misspelled as "unanumous" was a document from 1999 that Brooks himself sent about the sale of stock, Ott said, suggesting that the 1997 expense authorization was fabricated.
Noting the misspelling between the two documents and standard company minutes, resolutions and documents submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ott asked the company's then-chief financial officer, Mary Kreidell, if she had ever seen the 1997 expense authorization.
Kreidell, who was testifying as a witness for the government, said no.
Under cross-examination by Richard Levitt, one of Brooks' attorneys, Kreidell acknowledged that she was not familiar with all higher management actions when she was with the company and that Brooks had never asked her to perform what she considered an illegal act.
Levitt also showed Kreidell another company agreement involving Brooks in which the word "business" was misspelled in the text several times as "buisness," implying that spelling errors were not uncommon in company documents.
Among the personal items the government said Brooks' business illegally paid for, as a result of the scheme, were the belt buckle, more than $100,000 in gold jewelry, prostitutes, pornography for a relative, and trainers and nutritional supplements for his stable of trotting horses.
Prosecutors have argued the documents were cooked up in 2005, shortly before the board of Brooks' former Westbury company, DHB Industries, began to investigate Brooks' activities, and eventually removed him.
In another action related to Brooks, a federal judge last week ordered that the more than $20 million Brooks had put up to support a bail package be forfeited to the government.
U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert ordered Brooks jailed after she found he had concealed assets overseas in violation of the bail conditions.
Authorities also found a pen concealed on his person. Brooks had complained that he was not getting adequate medication at the jail and that the pens he was issued there were too flimsy to write well with.
He is now being held at the Federal Detention Center in Queens as a result of the search. Brooks' lead attorney, Kenneth Ravenell, declined to comment.