Metro-East News

Edwardsville man going to prison for fraud, money laundering scheme

A 35-year-old Edwardsville man was sentenced to prison on Tuesday in the Eastern District of Missouri after he pleaded guilty to a fraud and money laundering scheme involving false invoices submitted to his employer on behalf of a shell company officials said he created.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office identified the man as Adam Bernaix. He was sentenced to little more than three years in prison.

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 St. Louis. The U.S. Attorney’s Office explained that Bernaix, as a project manager for his employer, 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 had allegedly employed his father-in-law at one point to perform occasional jobs. The employee left the company, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Bernaix still sent Trident clients bills and marked up the client’s Albert Arno bills to keep the money flowing to Trident.

The defendant pleaded guilty in July to felony counts of mail fraud and two felony counts of money laundering. He was sentenced to more than three years in prison and was ordered to pay $427,713 in restitution to the victim.

The case was investigated by the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Albus handled the case.