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Theft charges against company leader tossed

ATLANTA — Felony theft charges against a Gwinnett man who led a biotech and pharmaceutical recruiting company have been dismissed, his attorney said this week.

Brendon Briggs, 40, was arrested on theft by conversion charges stemming from Fulton County after two former contractors alleged he owed them nearly $28,000.

Briggs’ attorney, Jackie Patterson, called the charges bunk from the start. Patterson said both felony counts were “outright dismissed” when the alleged victims failed to show up for trial April 18 in Fulton Superior Court.

Patterson felt the matter should have been handled in civil court, if not dismissed.

“They were simply trying to intimidate (Briggs) to get him to pay,” Patterson said. “Since he was innocent, he would’ve rather faced criminal charges ... It’s a travesty that we live in a country where you can get arrested because someone lies on you.”

Briggs’ accusers — clinical researcher Tom Malloy of Pennsylvania and scientist Lisa Hailey of North Carolina — claimed that instead of paying a combined $27,750 for research projects contracted through Briggs’ Johns Creek company, PharmaFORCE, he spent the money.

Malloy said the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office never notified him that a trial was starting which he should attend. The prosecutor handling the case did not return a request for comment Tuesday.

“I’d have walked to Georgia, if I’d had to,” Malloy said this week.

Briggs was indicted in Fulton County last year but was arrested only when Malloy provided Gwinnett police with his whereabouts. Briggs — a family man and former vestryman in a Lawrenceville church — spent 11⁄2 days in the Gwinnett County Jail until a judge in Fulton County ordered his release.

Briggs told the Daily Post this week police and attorneys have advised him he has sufficient grounds for a civil malicious prosecution case against Malloy.

“All I really want is for this to go away, but if he doesn’t cease, I’m going to have to take some kind of action against him,” Briggs said.

Malloy said he’s exploring the option of suing the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office for not notifying him of Briggs’ criminal trail.