Suspended Vero Beach lawyer facing two new felony charges

VERO BEACH – 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 shown 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.

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