By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
Kwong is Vice-President of Harvard Right to Life and President of the Harvard Republican Club. He remembers Chas Brady showing up at a number of meetings in Cambridge beginning that fall semester.
"He seemed very personable,very sincere," Kwong says. "He had that Southern charm."
Kwong says Brady told members of the club that he'd graduated from Harvard Law School but had yet to find his passion in life, so he had returned to pursue a master's degree in economics.
The story seemed plausible enough — for anyone who could afford it. And Brady seemed able to. He took the group out in a limousine, students say. He bought one girl an expensive camera. He donated $250 to the Right to Life cause. During one group outing — to a conservative political action conference in Washington, D.C. — Brady promised the group he'd introduce them to a congressman friend, but when it didn't pan out, he apologized by buying everyone dinner.
One young woman in the group says Brady seemed gentlemanly, opening doors and minding his manners. He dropped vague references to flying airplanes and being an escort for cotillion dances. "He said it in an unassuming way, not in a boastful way — which made it even more believable."
One student considered going into a business venture with Brady but felt compelled to look into his claims before laying any money on the line. Soon, "we had our alarms up, " says Kwong. A member of the group checked out the law school and found no record of Brady ever attending. Another discovered that Harvard didn't even offer a master's program in economics.
Collectively, the group felt some sympathy for Brady. They knew the pressures that came with the Harvard label, and they figured he exaggerated just to fit in with the high achievers around him. To spare him embarrassment, the group refrained from confronting him. But, says Kwong, "everyone whispered." Then, in March or April of last year, "he kind of disappeared."
Right about then, Brady was bumping into Dr. Zachariah at the Wellness Center.
By this time, official complaints were piling up in the offices of the Florida Bar. But the Bar's power was limited: Chas Brady didn't have a license it could revoke. Officials began to think this was a matter best handled by law enforcement.
On June 11, 2007, based on the Fardette and DiMaria matters, Brady was arrested on charges of grand theft and unlicensed practice of law, both felonies. He posted bond.
A month later, Steve Kafin — a real estate investor and owner of APG Meridian, Inc. — was working on a big real estate deal. Before the matter could be completed, Kafin needed to settle a lien issue with the City of Pompano Beach. He'd met Chas Brady and Jim Eddy at a closing a year earlier, where according to court documents, "Brady was introduced to Kafin as Eddy's law partner."
Kafin paid Eddy's firm $14,000 to take care of the lien. Brady simply faxed over a Satisfaction of Lien to the title company that was holding the funds. The only problem? As Pompano's Special Magistrate Clerk would soon discover, the document was forged. Police reports say the fake resulted in the cancellation of a $2.9 million real estate deal.
Brady was arrested again, this time on charges of "uttering a forged instrument." For the second time, he was released on bond.
Although bond requirements often require defendants to remain in the county, Judge Andrew Siegel kindly modified conditions for Brady. An order he signed says the defendant could "attend school in Boston temporarily." Although paperwork submitted to the court shows that Brady began the online registration process for Harvard Extension School's Fall 2007 semester, it's unclear whether he actually paid and attended.
As the investigation proceeded, detectives found more people who'd crossed Brady's path and fallen for his line of hype. Police reports show that James Holton, a Jeb Bush appointee to the Florida Transportation Commission, thought Brady was an attorney and met with him and Eddy in Washington, D.C., to discuss a lobbying project. Two partners of a global corporation called General Crane "retained Eddy and Brady as co-counsel" and were set to pay the firm $450,000. In an incident similar to the Fardette deal, Brady allegedly enticed a client, Bernard Paul Hus (proprietor of Hypower, Inc.), to buy an $800,000 property with the intention of flipping it quickly; in an affidavit, Brady admitted forging documents to make it look like there was a buyer lined up.
In the fall of 2007, Brady was socializing on Dr. Zachariah's yacht, where he was introduced to affluent mortgage broker Naveen Saddi. Somehow, during the conversation, Saddi agreed to obtain an exclusive Black American Express credit card, linked to his account but bearing Brady's name. When the card came in the mail, it said "Charles Brady, Esq." From September 13 through October 28, 2007, Brady racked up $18,450.18 in charges. He started to repay Saddi — but that November, before he could finish, Broward Sheriff's investigators arrested him a third time. This time his bond was revoked.
In addition to the criminal complaints in Broward County Court — there were now six — several of Brady's alleged victims filed civil lawsuits against him and his stepfather. At last count, the Florida Bar was also investigating five complaints lodged against Eddy, who did have a license to revoke.