A used-car dealer, who a judge described as having led a split life, was sentenced in federal court Monday to seven years in prison for running a sophisticated scheme to defraud Navy Federal Credit Union out of $1.5 million.
Jady Brooks, 39, and his lawyer pleaded for leniency before U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. The judge rejected that call but did sentence Brooks to a term below federally recommended guidelines.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan M. Salsbury, citing Brooks’ lengthy criminal record, asked for a nine-year prison term. Brooks and his lawyer asked for three years.
“I stand here before you today as a man who made mistakes, grave mistakes,” Brooks told the judge.
The effect on his family, he said, “is greater than being in jail,” he said.
Brooks, formerly of Norfolk, ran a scheme that netted $1.5 million through bogus car loans from Navy Federal.
Brooks used straw buyers to take out the loans for cars that did not exist, according to court records. At the time, he worked for a used-car dealer in Rocky Mount, N.C.
He then shared some of the proceeds with those people, some of whom made repayments to the credit union even though they never got a car, the records say.
The credit union ultimately lost about $1.2 million, which the judge ordered Brooks to repay. Authorities found no assets that they could seize from Brooks.
Salsbury called the scheme “especially complex” and “especially intricate.”
“This certainly was not a garden-variety fraud,” he told the judge.
Brooks’ lawyer, Richard Colgan, an assistant federal public defender, tried to convince the judge that the crime was not all that sophisticated.
“If this isn’t sophisticated,” the judge countered, “then I don’t know what sophisticated is.”
Brooks, who most recently lived in Atlanta, faced additional prison time for running a complex scheme and being the leader of it. His federally recommended prison range was eight to 10 years.
The judge was shown a four-minute video message from one of Brooks’ children. The judge also received about a dozen letters from Brooks’ family and friends.
“Jady Brooks is a regretful individual, and he has made serious errors,” Colgan told the judge. “But he’s been a good father, and that should account for something.”
Brooks then told the judge he had been too concerned with material things and that this has “brought me down to a humble sense.”
The judge scoffed.
“You spent two years committing this offense. You had two years to turn this thing around and do the right thing,” Jackson said.
“You’ve been leading a split life for a long time,” he said.
Brooks’ criminal record includes convictions for grand larceny, malicious wounding, assault, possession of stolen property, and trespass. Yet, the judge noted, Brooks never served more than 14 months in prison.
Brooks, who had been out on bond, was taken away in handcuffs. The judge refused to let him remain free to attend his daughter’s high school graduation.
Tim McGlone, (757) 446-2343, firstname.lastname@example.org