Robert Michael Bruist faces lengthy prison time after being convicted of swindling nearly $1 milion

FORT MYERS (AP) -- A 37-year-old Fort Myers man faces up to 65 years in federal prison after being convicted of swindling almost $1 million from a center for people with disabilities.

Authorities say Robert Michael Bruist took the money to pay for international trips while he was executive director of the now-defunct Center for Independent Living of Southwest Florida. His sentencing is scheduled for May 12.

The News-Press of Fort Myers reports the center provided services to 700 people in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee counties. It was largely funded by state and federal money and the United Way.

Defense attorney Marisa Lyn Boysen argued that Bruist was the "fall guy" for the center's board. She says it was looking for someone to blame when the center went bankrupt.

 

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