Bruno Air owner and employees enter not guilty pleas in fraud scheme
Louis Bruno, the former owner of a multi-million dollar air conditioning company, entered a not guilty plea and waived his right to an arraignment Monday.
Bruno was charged with 40 felony fraud charges, including a scheme to defraud and communications fraud.
A lengthy probable cause affidavit details an elaborate scheme involving forged documents and notary fraud.
Former customers told police their signatures were on financing agreements for air conditioning systems that cost up to $50,000.
Some customers said their signatures had been copied and pasted on the agreements, others claimed they were out of state when it happened, and one woman with multiple sclerosis said she didn’t have the ability to sign her name.
DOCUMENT: Read the probable cause affidavit HERE
Employees at the company told detectives that they were aware of fraud and criminal activity ongoing at the company. Some said they quit when they figured out they were being asked to break the law.
One employee said that business manager Tammy Schreier apologized to him for asking him to commit crimes, but she said “she was following the direction of Louis Bruno.”
Schreier and eight other former employees face fraud charges despite their cooperation with police.
A former technician, Tyler Murray, claimed he did not know what he was doing was against the law and that he learned it all from company training.
Louis Bruno’s Youtube channel has hours of videos detailing his multi-million dollar success story and showcases his “Bruno University” training program.
The videos show him inside a classroom instructing new employees.
According to the affidavit, Cape Coral police detectives first interviewed Schreier in late 2018. Two weeks later, the lead detective said he got wind that Louis Bruno was destroying evidence and shredding documents.
In January 2019, police executed a search warrant on the Bonita Springs company to preserve evidence.
Cape police, alongside the Florida Attorney General’s Office, spent the next 18 months building their case and interviewing former customers and employees.
Holly Hansen, another employee in the business office, admitted to detectives that she fraudulently notarized around 100 notice of commencement documents.
Hansen, Murray, Scheirer and four other former employees also entered written not guilty pleas and waived their right to appear in court Monday.
Another former notary at the company, Celeste Robinson, was arraigned Monday but as of publication, her plea was not publicly available.
There is still one additional former employee with a warrant out for his arrest. As of publication, he was still at large.