More Trouble for U.S. Bulletproof Vest Maker

By Maddy Sauer

Aug 23, 2006 9:13am

A bulletproof vest manufacturer, which has a history of allegations of ineffectiveness and recalls, was dealt yet another blow last week when two of the company’s former executives were indicted on securities fraud and insider trading charges. This after a class action lawsuit over similar allegations forced the chief executive to resign. DHB Industries, along with its founder and former CEO David Brooks, has a rocky history of controversy and complaints over its bulletproof vests which it sells to the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies across the country. ABC News first reported on DHB in 2002 when questions about the effectiveness of their Point Blank vests were raised after the New York State Labor Department investigation concluded that at least 900 defective vests were sold to the New York Police Department. Following the investigation, some 6,300 vests, more than a quarter of all Point Blank vests worn by NYPD officers, were taken out of service and returned to the company. Since then, there have been more recalls and more controversy. David Brooks, the former chairman and founder of DHB, Point Blank’s parent company, was described in 1996 by the Securities Exchange Commission as having a history of serious security law violations.  A class action lawsuit, which was recently settled for some $35 million, charged Brooks and his top executives with issuing misleading financial statements and then selling over 10 million of their own shares in the company and receiving over $200 million in illegal profits. The company has not acknowledged any wrongdoing. Following that stock sale, Brooks again raised eyebrows when he threw his daughter a lavish bat mitzvah, which reportedly cost $10 million. The party featured performances by Aerosmith and rapper 50 Cent and took place at the New York’s famed Rainbow Room. Just last week, two of DHB’s former executives were charged with securities fraud and insider trading. Brooks, who resigned from the company this summer, has not been charged, but the investigation is ongoing. Meanwhile, DHB continues to supply body armor to the U.S. Army. "We take these charges seriously," said an Army spokesperson, "and we continue to work with the company." He added that there is a rigorous testing process the vests must go through and that, so far, there have been no issues of quality with the DHB vests. The Marine Corps, however, which recalled thousands of Point Blank vests in 2005, said they no longer have any contracts with DHB. Calls to DHB  for this story  were not returned.

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