Ex-worker in county prosecutor’s office pleads guilty to theft

David Bruns was fired from the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office and its delinquent tax assessment and collection unit on Aug. 22.
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David Bruns was fired from the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office and its delinquent tax assessment and collection unit on Aug. 22.

Former Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office worker David M. Bruns on Thursday pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $90,000 over a five-year period. However, he won’t get prison time if a visiting judge agrees with a recommendation from the prosecuting attorney and Bruns’ attorney.

Bruns, the spouse of lead juvenile court prosecutor Julie Bruns, worked in the delinquent tax assessment unit and legally made about $36,000 per year. Julie Bruns' mother is a first cousin of Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr.

Bruns, 47, will be sentenced sometime in the next four weeks by Judge Linton D. Lewis, a retired judge from Perry County. Lewis said he needed to check his calendar before setting a sentencing date.

Lewis could decide to impose prison time after reviewing the pre-sentence investigation.

Lewis heard the case because of conflicts of interest within the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. One judge, for example, requested to be disqualified because one staffer “has been involved in sporting activities outside the court with defendant.”

Bruns, who was fired Aug. 22, pleaded guilty to theft in office and tampering with government records, both third-degree felonies that could result in sentences of three years apiece.

“If all the money is paid back, we’re not recommending a state prison sentence,” said special prosecutor Ron O’Brien of Franklin County. “The judge has the option as a condition of community control to impose various conditions” including local jail time.

A Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman said Heck would not comment about the case and referred this media organization to O’Brien.

O’Brien has been Franklin County’s top prosecutor since 1996, and Heck has led Montgomery County’s division since 1992.

“We know each other, but he had no role in the disposition of this case,” O’Brien said. “Neither the number of charges or the state’s efforts to recover the restitution.”

Heck did comment on Thursday about the prosecution of ex-Kettering police detective Ryan Meno, who pleaded guilty to lesser felonies for stealing a bottle of prescription medicine from a Kettering resident.

Bruns has repaid nearly $41,000 of the $89,976.46 that is the agreed-upon total the attorneys said was stolen between Dec. 19, 2011, and Aug. 16, 2016. Defense attorney Charles Wagner declined to comment.

O’Brien said Bruns used his position to steal the money in four ways — cash being skimmed from depositors, proceeds from a foreclosure deposited into a company Bruns set up, checks to the prosecutor’s office used to cover some missing money and tampering with records from a foreclosure.

O’Brien said he was asked to prosecute a “John Doe” who turned out to be David Bruns. No court documents were publicly available until Thursday.

Heck’s spokesman said Bruns’ case was a “John Doe” case because “at the time it was a pending, ongoing investigation” and that is “not unusual.”