LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Robert Michael Bruist, the man accused of embezzling nearly $1 million from a Southwest Florida non-profit, has been found guilty of aggravated white collar crime.
It took the jury less than three hours to reach their verdict.
Bruist used to be in charge of the Center for Independent Living of Southwest Florida, but state officials said he misappropriated $900,000 to fund an extravagant lifestyle and pay off his credit cards.
A joint investigation by the chief financial officer's Office of Financial Integrity and the Department of Education's Inspector general claimed that Bruist converted state funding, federal grants, non-profit grants and personal donations for his own use on things like international travel.
The Center for Independent Living of Southwest Florida he ran was forced to close its doors in 2011 becasuse of a lack of funds. It provided services to people with disabilities across Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties.
Bruist is scheduled to be sentenced in May. He could face up to 65 years in State prison.
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