Florida

A law firm fired an attorney. He became the firm’s stalker and stole an AR-15, cops say

Christopher Brady
Christopher Brady Manatee County Sheriff's Office

An Englewood attorney was disbarred permanently by the Florida Supreme Court in July after not letting go of the Bradenton law firm that let him go.

Christopher Brady’s behavior spurred the Barak Law Group PA to get a restraining order that he has violated three times. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the referee on his Florida Bar discipline case say surveillance video clearly shows Brady using a pickup truck to rip out the firm’s front doors and steal a safe last August.

Later, the sheriff’s office says, Brady got caught with an AR-15 he stole from the firm’s storage unit.

Brady, 35, faces two counts of burglary of an unoccupied structure and one count of grand theft firearm. He is out after posting $45,000 bond.

After graduating from Nova Southeastern School of Law in 2012, Brady was an associate at the Barak Law Group until his firing on July 31, 2018.

Firm owner Anthony Barak “testified that he terminated [Brady] after [Brady] had begun to exhibit odd and concerning behavior and had missed hearings,” the referee’s report read.

Brady quickly started the website www.baraklawgrouppa.com. He tried to register “Barak Law Group P.A.” with the state of Florida and claimed his former employer wasn’t a professional association because there were no periods in the registered firm name’s “PA.” Later, he also tried to use punctuation to claim the restraining order wasn’t valid as the firm put the periods in when filing for it.

Both the state of Florida and the Manatee County courts rejected Brady’s punctuation logic.

Soon after, in a text message to a Barak Law paralegal, Brady said, “Please preserve all files we are now owners of Barak law group pa, we have had 2 executive meetings and two practicing attys. Please expect any and all leans put on these files by Tony to be contested.”

On Aug. 9, opposing counsel Edwin Valen sent an email to Barak that began, “I’m not really sure where to begin…”

Valen wrote that Christopher Brady told him to cut off communication with Brady’s former employer and now deal only with him, the sole shareholder of Barak Law Group P.A.

Valen also wrote his most recent phone call was with Christopher Brady’s twin brother, Matthew Brady, “in which I was told they had a shareholder meeting at 4 a.m. and that they were at a Walmart camping aisle spending corporate resources on knives? Very strange.”

Another Aug. 9 email, to opposing counsel Stephanie Hoffman, said, “Please be advised that Tony Barak is no longer a part of Barak Law Group P.A. He has interest in the business entity that bears that name, but not in the professional association, for he has not executed his duty by signing the bi laws after being properly noticed.”

On Aug. 10, Barak Law Group filed for the temporary restraining order. Manatee County Circuit Judge Gilbert Smith granted the order on Aug. 14, barring Christopher Brady from representing himself as affiliated with Barak Law Group, interfering with the firm’s business and shut down the website.

The alleged office burglary didn’t violate the restraining order. That happened two days earlier, Aug. 12, around 10:30 a.m.

“The Bar introduced very clear video evidence of the brothers committing the burglary in broad daylight at [Anthony] Barak’s firm,” the referee wrote.

Both the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the referee say surveillance video caught Christopher and Matthew Brady tethering the front door handles to the rear of Christopher Brady’s Ford F250 and punching the gas. With the doors ripped open, the Bradys swiped a safe, a computer server and a key to the Barak Law Group’s storage unit.

Though lacking stealth, the sheriff’s report said the caper was done with enough speed for the Brady brothers to be elsewhere by the time cops answered the alarm.

Getting the key allowed the Bradys to walk into the Barak Law Firm unit at Midgard Storage in Bradenton on Aug. 15 and, after finding out which unit the firm rented, walk out with two office chairs and a Colt AR-15, .22 caliber rifle in its original cardboard box.

The report said they needed to ask the person working in Midgard’s office for the firm’s unit number. That person happened to have experience selling guns and when he saw the Bradys exit, saw the box as the kind that would have a rifle. Upon arrest, the report claims, Brady admitted taking the AR-15 and told police where they could find it in the pickup truck.

The report says cops found the gun and some of the loot from the Aug. 12 burglary.

Brady filed documents for Anthony Barak, the firm and Barak Law Group client Chambers Medical Group without authorization.

When the firm filed for the restraining order against him, Brady twice signed and filed a notice of appearance in the case that he was Barak’s counsel. Another notice of appearance featured Brady’s forged signature of Fort Lauderdale attorney Louis Pironti, another Nova Southeastern graduate, without Pironti’s knowledge.

“After filing his notices, [Brady] then filed a confession of judgment on behalf of Mr. Barak,” wrote the referee, which called this “a flagrant fraud upon that court.”

In February, Brady registered “Barak Lawn Group” as a corporation doing business in the state of Florida. Brady is listed as president. Matthew Brady is listed as vice president.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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