An active community member who embezzled nearly $700,000 from his father's Elkton companies must serve his full one-year sentence, a judge ruled Friday.
Retired Cecil County Circuit Court Judge O. Robert Lidums denied a defense motion to reduce the sentence he had imposed on Elkton-area resident James Edward Brady Sr., 52, in November.
Amid the police investigation resulting in his conviction, Brady was appointed to a seven-member advisory board to review the county's ethics code and offer suggestions to the Cecil County Ethics Commission.
Brady also volunteered with the Boy Scouts for nearly a decade and served on the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce's board of directors from 1998 through 2004, including one as president.
Prosecutors said Brady incrementally stole $696,000 from his father's custom sheet metal manufacturing firm, William H. Brady Inc., at 399 Blue Ball Road, and his subsidiary business, Brady & Brady.
Brady siphoned the funds from 2003 through 2009 while serving as president of the companies, prosecutors said.
He embezzled the money by photocopying blank company checks, cashing the originals and then fabricating legitimate business payments in corresponding sums on the copies, according to Assistant State's Attorney Steven L. Trostle.
"There were at least 40 such transactions over a seven-year period," Trostle said. "The smallest fraudulent check was for $8,000 and the biggest was for $22,000. In 2007 alone, which was his peak year, he stole a total of $87,000."
Brady used the stolen funds for various personal uses, including spending $18,000 to install a heating system in the swimming pool at his home in the 900 block of Shady Beach Road, according to Trostle, relaying what Brady's father included in his victim-impact statement.
The father also reported Brady used $20,000 to pay property taxes, Trostle said.
Brady's numerous thefts came to light in 2009, but his father and other family members wanted to handle the matter privately, asking Brady to pay back the money, prosecutors said.
When Brady failed to make restitution, after entering into a confessed judgment, his father tried to give him other options in hopes of working it out, prosecutors added.
"Essentially, his father was extending the olive branch," Trostle said.
But Brady rebuffed his father, referring him to his lawyer before hanging up the telephone, Trostle said.
Because of that interaction and because Brady, who had joined a competing company, tried to steer his father's clients to his new employer, the family contacted authorities, Trostle said.
Brady pleaded guilty to theft scheme of $500 or greater on Aug. 24, as part of plea deal in which prosecutors dropped three related theft and embezzlement charges.
Lidums imposed a one-year sentence on Brady on Nov. 1, granting him work release privileges at the Cecil County Detention Center.
On Nov. 15, three days after Brady started serving his term, his lawyer filed a motion for reduction of sentence.
Lidums denied the request on Friday, after some of Brady's relatives spoke out against lowering his sentence.
Brady's father outlined how his companies have been forced to rebuild in the wake of his son's prolonged embezzling.
Among those voicing their opposition was Brady's sister, M. Jane Brady, a Superior Court judge and former attorney general in Delaware.
She said Brady's breach of trust devastated her family.
The relatives also said Brady's crime contradicted his extensive civic-oriented resume, which includes serving as president of the Susquehanna Workforce Network.
Cecil Whig reporter Cheryl Mattix contributed to this article.