Former Brix employee gets probation, ordered to pay back money

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - The employee who embezzled six figures from a popular wine bar before it shut down will be punished for his crimes.

Brenton McLaurine has been sentenced to 5 years probation, and ordered to pay $60,000 in restitution in Douglas County District Court.

He was convicted of embezzling $110,000 from Brix Wine and Spirits starting in 2015 as part of a gift card scheme. The business closed its two locations in January 2017.

The sentence was recommended by the probation offices, and prosecutors agreed.

"I think that when you read the reports, this embezzlement was not the sole reason for the closure of Brix, but certainly it had a contributing factor to that,” Douglas County Deputy Attorney Jim Mastellar said.

The $60,000 in restitution was decided upon because Brix's owner had recovered $50,000 through insurance.

Prosecutors said he didn't make large purchases that could be seized.

"As far as we could tell, this defendant basically frittered away this money just on his lifestyle, living beyond his means,” Mastellar explained.

McLaurine will pay a minimum of $500/month during his five-year probation. He told the judge his actions were out of character, and he's sorry for hurting anyone in the process.

"I hate that it went out of business. This was an awesome place, and I loved it very much,” McLaurine said after court.

Asked whether he was sorry for everything that happened, he said: "Absolutely."

His attorney said he had a check ready to pay $21,000 back on Thursday.

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