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Hand doctor sentenced to 180 days in Harris County Jail

Carol Christia, Houston Chronicle
Updated 12:21 am, Saturday, March 9, 2013

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  • Michael Brown gets escorted to a family law court in Houston on Tuesday. ( Mayra Beltran / Houston Chronicle ) Photo: Mayra Beltran, Staff / © 2013 Houston Chronicle

    Michael Brown gets escorted to a family law court in Houston on Tuesday. ( Mayra Beltran / Houston Chronicle )

    Photo: Mayra Beltran, Staff

 

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Michael Brown, the embattled former hand surgeon whose legal problems have made headlines, was sentenced on Friday to 180 days in the Harris County Jail for violating orders imposed during divorce proceedings with his fourth wife.

State District Judge Sheri Y. Dean sentenced Brown after reading a litany of violations of a 2011 temporary injunction restricting his use of financial assets.

The judge will review the sentencing on March 26.

Among the violations the judge listed Friday were the purchase of a $6 million Miami Beach high-rise residence, the three-month rental of a separate unit in the same high rise for $14,000 a month and the procurement of a $3.57 million mortgage to buy another Miami property.

Other violations the judge ticked off included jewelry purchases of about $111,000 and $35,000 with an American Express credit card.

Under terms of the 2011 temporary injunction, Brown was not to spend money, transfer assets or incur debt beyond what was "reasonable" for daily living or business.

The order was imposed during his divorce proceedings against Rachel Brown, who is part-owner of the Brown Hand Center.

Robert Hoffman, one of Rachel Brown's attorneys, said after the hearing that Brown's jail sentence was just the beginning of a process.

"I think the court has been very patient with Dr. Brown, but this divorce case is far from over," Hoffman said. "There is much more to come. There is a vast estate that needs to be uncovered, discovered and properly divided between the parties."

Robert Hantman, Brown's personal attorney who said he was not the attorney of record on Friday's proceeding, was disappointed with the hearing outcome.

"It's just a tragedy that someone who built up a business for 25 years, has 400 employes (and is) a dedicated person who works hard and makes it possible for his family to live so well has to go through this type of situation," Hantman said.

Dean said she would consider whether Brown would have to pay attorney fees or the cost of incarceration.

Dean sentenced Brown to 180 days in jail for each of the dozens of violations, but the sentences are to run concurrently, limiting the total incarceration to fewer than six months.