Former Hollywood, Calif., madam Michelle Braun is back in trouble with the law, charged with operating a Fort Lauderdale boiler room to defraud stock investors across the country out of $400,000.
She's still on three years of probation for her high-class California escort operation that supplied playmates, porn actresses and models to movie stars, athletes and businessmen.
Braun, 33, did not look so glamorous in her mug shot taken at the Broward County Jail on Tuesday, where she was booked after being served with an arrest warrant. She moved to Boca Raton after her prostitution ring, which prosecutors alleged brought in more than $8 million, was broken up in 2009.
Her defense attorney, Marc Nurik, disputed the allegations in the arrest affidavit, which lays out charges of fraud, operating a boiler room and the sale of unregistered securities. Braun is alleged to have received $80,000 as the vice president of the company, Sterling Capital Trust on Southeast 20th Street in Fort Lauderdale, that allegedly sold nonexistent stock shares to investors.
"The amount of money she received is totally inflated," Nurik said Thursday. "I'm confident once we get to the bottom of this, it will all be cleared up, at least as far as Michelle is concerned. This is not something she bears responsibility for."
The investigation was performed by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, after the agency received a complaint from an investor in August 2009, according to the arrest affidavit. A spokeswoman for the agency said she could not comment because it was still an open investigation.
Braun and eight others marketed nonexistent securities in an alternative energy company between March 2009 and July 2009, taking in $402,000 from investors, the affidavit says. Braun and another executive of Sterling Capital met with an executive of the energy company and offered to sell shares to raise capital, the affidavit says.
The energy company did not go forward with the proposal, but Sterling Capital went ahead and marketed the shares regardless; after investors bought shares, they never received their stock certificates, according to the affidavit.
So far, two other defendants in the case have been charged. More arrests are expected. Braun was released from jail after posting $41,000 bond.