A Seat Pleasant man, facing charges of accepting bribes on his federal government job, was found hanged yesterday in the Laurel warehouse where he worked, police said.
A coworker discovered Charles Lewis Brooks, 42, of 1405 Elkwood La., in the rear of the Government Printing Office warehouse yesterday morning. He was pronounced dead at Greater Laurel-Beltsville Hospital at 10:46 a.m.
"It appears to have been a suicide," said police spokesman Deborah German.
Last week a U.S. grand jury indicted Brooks and another coworker for allegedly accepting bribes from two Baltimore printing firms.
"The scheme was that when the printing companies fell behind in their work they would arrange to pay off delivery people at the GPO warehouse," said Baltimore assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Sales. "He was asked by the companies to leave the delivery receipts undated." Sales could not specify the amount of the bribes, allegedly taken in 1978 and 1979.
Officers of the Publication Press Inc. and Graphic Arts Finishing Co. Inc. also were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and five counts of bribery. The indictments were the result of an ongoing investigation by the Government Printing Office, Inspector General and the Postal Inspection Service.
Brooks, described by neighbors as a quiet, heavy drinking loner with money problems, was to be arraigned in Baltimore this morning. He would have faced a maximum 15-year sentence and a $20,000 fine for each bribery count.
Brooks constantly complained that he was having trouble paying the $260 rent on the one-bedroom garden apartment where he had lived alone for 12 years, said Evelyn Council, a friend who lived above Brooks. He had been behind in his rent for a year and was forced to move out of his apartment on Tuesday, she said. His telephone service also was cut off last week, Council said.
"He looked like something was wrong with him," said a neighbor who asked not to be named. She said she believed something was wrong last Friday when Brooks yelled at her after she asked him about a debt. "When he hollered at me, I talked to some of his friends. They said he owed a lot of other people money, too. I knew him for the three years that I've been here, but he only started acting funny this week before he moved."