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Lawyer Brown facing two new felony charges

(Week of May 26, 2011)

Photo of Richard Brown

Two more clients of Richard Brown have come forward with stories of losing money each entrusted to the former Vero Beach lawyer, and as a result, he now faces a total of seven felony charges.

If convicted of all the charges he faces, the 44-year-old Brown could be sentenced to up to 85 years in prison.

According to a State Attorney’s Office complaint regarding a new first-degree grand theft charge, Vero Beach resident Gary Walko claims that in May, he was denied access to more than $147,000 he placed in escrow with Brown in 2009. Brown was re-arrested in jail on that charge last week.

The Indian River Sheriff’s Office also has an active warrant for Brown on another third-degree grand theft charge. Former client Linda Hays of Vero Beach claims to be out more than $5,000, according to the case report.

The report states that Brown wrote checks for $4,500 worth of medical bills Hays owed from an accident for which Brown was handling a lawsuit. While Hay was show photocopies of checks to the health-care providers, they  never received payment – a fact Hays found out when she tried to trade in her car in January.

Brown remains in the St. Lucie County lockup after being arrested May 2 for the second time this year. On March 23, Brown was picked up on a warrant for $3,300 worth of bad checks written to his former landlord for a beachside rental home.

Brown’s other charges, which span three counties, range from a felony charge of criminal use of personal identification to second-degree grand theft and an organized scheme to defraud of $50,000 or more.

When asked what sort of prison term Brown could serve if found guilty, Assistant State Attorney Lev Evans said sentencing is based on a complex point system, but depending upon which charges result in conviction and whether maximum points are applied, a range of about 35 to 85 years.

Three weeks ago, Ft. Pierce attorney Mike Ohle represented Brown in a failed attempt to have his $375,000 bond reduced by Judge Gary Sweet.

Brown’s bond now has increased to $475,000 and he reportedly has a new lawyer.

His new attorney, Robert Meadows, defended local sex offender Denise Harvey and has worked on other high-profile and capital crime cases.