Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Money Laundering Charges
St. Louis, MO – Adam Bernaix, Edwardsville, Illinois, admitted to a fraud and money laundering scheme involving false invoices submitted to his employer on behalf of a shell company he created.
According to his plea agreement, Bernaix earned approximately $350,000 through Trident Management Solutions, a company he created solely to bill companies doing business with his employer. Bernaix submitted invoices for "services rendered" to companies doing business with his employer, Albert Arno, an HVAC contractor in the City of St. Louis. Bernaix, as a project manager for Albert Arno, was able to mark up the invoices of Trident’s clients to Albert Arno so that his employer provided the extra money needed for Trident’s clients to pay their Trident bills.
Bernaix employed his father-in-law at one point to perform occasional jobs, but even after Trident’s sole employee left the company, and Trident did absolutely nothing for its clients, Bernaix still sent Trident clients bills and marked up the clients' Albert Arno bills sufficiently to keep the money flowing to Trident.
Bernaix pled guilty to felony counts of mail fraud and two felony counts of money laundering before United States District Judge Henry Autrey. Sentencing has been set for October 25, 2016.
Bernaix faces up to 20 years imprisonment on each of two mail fraud counts, up to 10 years imprisonment on each of two money laundering counts and/or fines up to $250,000. Restitution for the victims will be sought pursuant to the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Tom Albus is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.