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Napa pair accused of stealing from Finnish American Home Association in Sonoma

Two Napa men are accused of bilking a nonprofit organization that has been providing affordable housing to seniors for decades in the Sonoma Valley.

Daniel Broin, 55, and Ayrick Broin, 43, were arraigned Wednesday in Sonoma County Superior Court on felony grand theft, elderly theft and conspiracy charges involving the Finnish American Home Association, also known as FAHA. Prosecutors said they also face an enhancement charge for stealing more than $100,000 from the agency, where Daniel Broin had served as the executive director.

Daniel Broin was arrested March 3 by the Napa County Sheriff’s Office. He later was turned over to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, which had launched an investigation after receiving a complaint from the FAHA’s board of directors.

The board contacted deputies in August after finding “what appeared to be financial irregularities,” board President Steve Rowe said in a statement posted on the organization’s website. They’ve since been working closely with the Sheriff’s Office on the case, he said.

“The pages of this difficult chapter in FAHA’s history are turning, and turning for the better. The board is committed to seeing this investigation through,” Rowe said. “We have been working hard to return FAHA to financial well-being through professional management and effective oversight, and to restore the trust and good will of its members.”

The organization, founded more than 40 years ago, operates two senior housing facilities on West Verano Avenue, just west of Sonoma, according to its website. The Manor offers 48 low-income studio and one-bedroom apartments, while The Palms is made up of 16 one- and two-bedroom condos.

The investigation, led by Sonoma County Sheriff’s Detective Thomas Peirsol, found that the defendants had been stealing from the organization since 2010, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

“This type of conduct impacts the organization, and the community at large,” District Attorney Jill Ravitch said in a statement. “It is especially tragic when the affected organization is one striving to help the needy within the community.”

Ayrick Broin turned himself in the day after Daniel Broin was detained when he learned a warrant had been issued for his arrest, said Santa Rosa attorney Evan Zelig, who’s representing him.

Attorney Roy Miller is representing Daniel Broin in the case. Both Broins were expected to be released from Sonoma County Jail by Wednesday afternoon after their attorneys argued they weren’t flight risks. The District Attorney’s Office said the pair are brothers; Peirsol said they are domestic partners.

The two men are due back in court April 4 to enter a plea, according to their attorneys, who declined to comment further.

You can reach Staff Writer Eloísa Ruano González at 521-5458 or eloisa.gonzalez@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @eloisanews.

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