The former executive director of a Florida charity for people with disabilities that closed last year due to lack of money has been charged with embezzling more than $900,000 from the organization, says The News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla.
Robert Michael Bruist, 35, of Fort Myers faces 13 counts of aggravated white-collar crime, grand theft, and fraud in connection with his stewardship of the Center for Independent Living of Southwest Florida, which provided services for disabled people in five counties.
The center, which opened in 1992 and operated largely on state and federal money and United Way contributions, shut down in July 2011. Prosecutors said Mr. Bruist, who had worked for the center since 2001 and became executive director in 2008, diverted some $923,000 from the charity’s coffers to personal expenditures.
Mr. Bruist has been in custody since last July on unrelated charges of driving under the influence.