[tabi] Fwd: check this out, remember Rick Brown

  • From: wendy.hoss@xxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2012 20:33:58 +0000 (UTC)

This is a messed up situation in more ways than one. It really bothers me that 
he is getting off the hook due to disability. How can we ever expect equality 
in employment and education if we refuse to make ourselves equal in legal 
matters. You do the crime, you do the time regardless of disability. 
----- Original Message -----

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Boltz, Rachel 
To: hipples@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Saturday, November 03, 2012 12:54 PM 
Subject: FW: check this out, remember Rick Brown 

From: Smith, Stacy 
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2012 3:32 PM 
To: Boltz, Rachel 
Subject: check this out, remember Rick Brown 

This article from the Tampa Tribune just came out today and I've already had a 
few phone calls concerning the article 

and was asked to post it to the list. 

You'll find a copy / paste of the article below. If you prefer to google the 
article, go to 


Blind man who stole from vets avoids jail 

By ELAINE SILVESTRINI | The Tampa Tribune 

Published: September 06, 2012 

» 0 Comments | Post a Comment 


Eight days after he started working at a clinic for blinded veterans, Richard 
Brown started stealing from it. 

Blind himself and with both legs amputated below the knee, Brown "was an expert 
at making people trust him," his former boss, Nancy Kirk, told a judge 

Wednesday during a sentencing hearing in federal court. 

"Fellow employees trusted him," Kirk said. "He used that trust to steal from 
veterans by stealing their low-vision aids and selling them." 

Brown was paid more than $78,000 a year as a coordinator helping blind veterans 
in the eye clinic at James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital. And in two years, 

he stole more than $88,000 worth of equipment, such as iPads and iPhones, 
selling them at discounted prices to friends and relatives and on eBay. 

Brown's attorney, public defender Adam Allen, asked U.S. District Judge Steven 
D. Merryday to give Brown probation — not the 10 months in prison a prosecutor 

recommended — because of his extensive medical problems, his lack of a criminal 
history and his intention to repay what he stole. 

Allen said Brown was paying off debts. But Kirk said Brown bragged to coworkers 
about purchasing "big-ticket items like a big-screen TV, a new car and 

new furniture." 

This was not, she said, "a mistake by someone experiencing financial problems. 
This is a pattern of behavior that is not likely to change." 

Brown, she said, "spoke constantly of his dedication to the veterans and how 
hard he worked to help them. He was the first to tell me when he felt a 

was not doing their best for veterans." 

Allen told Merryday that Brown is deeply remorseful and determined to repay the 
government. His actions have strained his marriage — his wife also is blind 

— and his relationship with his military family. Although Brown is not a 
veteran, Brown's father served 29 years in the Air Force and his two brothers 

also served, Allen said. 

"He's let them down," Allen said. "He let his wife down; he let his brother's 

"Don't forget the country," Merryday said. 

"He let the country down," Allen agreed. 

Brown, 48, of Brandon, lost his vision and his legs because of Type 1 diabetes, 
which also cost him a kidney and his pancreas. He may be on the verge of 

organ failure again, Allen said. 

He also has heart problems and had quadruple bypass surgery in 1998. Allen said 
Brown takes 13 medications a day, including one drug that's not available 

in federal prisons. 

"I know what I've done, like he said, has hurt me and my family," Brown told 
the judge. "I hurt myself. I want to pay back everything that I can pay back. 

… I want to show society that I wasn't the person that committed that crime. 
That's not me." 

While she did not take a position on whether Brown should be imprisoned, Kirk, 
his former boss, told Merryday she wanted to make sure Brown is never again 

in a position to steal. He should not ever "be placed in a position of trust 
with any organization," she said. 

"Mr. Brown's visual impairment was not a problem when I hired him," Kirk said. 

"He had the ability to perform his work at a very high level. His evaluations 
were always outstanding, and I recommended him for a $1,000 performance award 

for his work with the veterans. His abilities were in no way marginal. His 
visual impairment should not be used now as a reason to make him less 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Sweeney didn't dispute Brown's medical problems 
are severe. But she said the prison system is equipped to treat him. 

The judge said that Brown had insulted "the dignity of not only the veterans, 
but the country and the office that he took." 

"There is a sense that what he deserves and what is sensible to give him are 
probably two different things," Merryday continued. "This offense is especially 

bothersome. … He should have had a special affinity for the persons he was 

Brown's medical condition is "not a license to steal," Merryday said. "It's not 
a license to go in and recklessly rip off the taxpayers and, not only the 

government, but people in need." 

Merryday said he's skeptical Brown is remorseful, and may just be sorry he was 

But in the end, the judge granted Allen's request and sentenced Brown to five 
years of probation. In addition to paying restitution, Brown must serve eight 

months of home detention. 

The judge urged Brown to comply with all restrictions while he is on probation, 
warning him that if he steps over the line, he will go to prison. "If you 

don't think you will go to jail, go to prison, if you violate the terms of this 
supervised release," the judge said, "try me." 


(813) 259-7837 Twitter: @ElaineTrib 

Stacy Smith 

Job developer Specialist 

Department of Education 

Division of Blind Services 

1185 Dunn Ave. Daytona Beach Fl. 32114 



Fax 386-239-6107 

“Ask not what employers can do for you, but what you can do for employers”. 
John F. Kennedy 

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  • » [tabi] Fwd: check this out, remember Rick Brown - wendy . hoss