Just four days before his trial date, the former executive director of the National Plasterers Council pleaded No Contest to charges that he siphoned money from the association he oversaw.
In January, 2016, Mitch Brooks was taken from his Florida home and arrested, accused of misappropriating NPC funds. A forensic accountant hired by the association claimed that Brooks’ association-management firm, Visioneering Consultants, took nearly $1.5 million more than its contracted compensation. Brooks remained in prison for about 15 months while he fought to have his bail amount reduced from $1.5 million to $110,000, which required an appeal.
Two of the three counts against him were essentially dropped. But he has pleaded no contest to the third count, Grand Theft, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years.
His sentencing hearing is scheduled for place Sept. 28. The prosecutor has recommended that the judge declare him guilty, that he serve up to five years and pay restitution and court costs of approximately $677,000.
While not an admission of guilt, a No Contest plea states that the defendant does not contest the evidence. The judge can still adjudicate Brooks guilty.
By pleading No Contest, Brooks not only gives up his right to trial, but also to appeal on any matters except the legality of the sentence and jurisdiction.
Brooks entered the plea after several continuances.