Update: Aaand... he's out! Details after the jump.
In April 2008, New Times profiled Robert "Chas" Brady, who was facing fraud charges for passing himself off as a lawyer and Harvard grad when, in fact, he hadn't even gone to college. The six-foot-two, well-spoken 27-year-old even managed to con some of Florida's top doctors and lawyers with his extensive knowledge of land-use laws and the justice system.
Brady was sent to jail in July 2008 for a sentence of two years and six months. The charges? Organized fraud of $50,000 or more, unauthorized law practice, and forgery.
Well, he got out of jail on December 29 of last year and was sentenced to "community control," a type of probation, until 2030. Wasting no time, he quickly got himself hired as a legal and financial adviser to several companies and individuals, including Top Tomato in Pompano Beach, where he was arrested for probation violation on November 18.
Top Tomato hired Gary Black as its general manager earlier this year to try to clean up some of the financial mess they found themselves in after employing Brady for $1,800 per week as a "strategic financial adviser." During that time, according to Black, Brady worked on "insurance claims, local stuff, code violations."
While on the job at Top Tomato, he apparently filled his free time filing clemency appeals for individual clients. Black says he found numerous files in the office after Brady was arrested, including "client information sheets" with copies of fingerprints as well as checks made out to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. We have a call out to FDLE to see what those checks might have been for and to one of the "clients" identified in the paperwork.
We are also waiting to speak with Assistant State Attorney David Schulson, who is reviewing Brady's recent activity. The recent arrest was for probation violation alone, and Brady is not yet in the county booking system for a new round of charges.
Top Tomato wasn't in the dark about Brady's past: He was hired with a full understanding of his previous legal troubles and jail time. "They believed in second chances," says Black.
Although the company knew Brady wasn't a lawyer, Black says its insurance company didn't. He says that Brady was in contact with the insurance agent, Ryan Gudaitis, because he wanted to change a single clause in the insurance policy: the one that offered coverage should the company be sued by a wrongfully terminated employee. We're waiting to speak with Gudaitis about whether he was deceived by Brady.
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Black says the company had employed James Eddy, Brady's stepfather, as legal counsel. "When we severed our ties with him a couple of days ago, he let us know that he had been told by the Florida Bar to fire Brady as a paralegal," says Black.
More to come.
Update 12/10: Brady was released from jail yesterday morning after negotiations involving his longtime defense attorney, Donald Corbin, and prosecutor David Schulson. Corbin has shared office space with Brady's stepfather, James Eddy, but denies that Eddy played a role in this recent release. "I would refer you to the public record for details on the negotiations," says Corbin. Meanwhile, Schulson says he was unable to bring new charges against Brady, despite the allegations from Top Tomato (which included Brady playing with a gun he found in his desk and adding himself as a signer on the company credit card).
"I've got bigger fish to fry right now than Charles Brady," says Schulson. Meanwhile, Brady is offering his services as a "nonlawyer consultant."