Spirikaitis Still At Large; Authorities Turn to Public for Help
As of 4:15 p.m. EDT Wednesday, former Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union CEO Alex Spirikaitis was still at large and authorities in Cleveland pleaded with the public to assist in his capture.
“We are really making a plea to the public to look at his picture and if they see him or have any idea as to his whereabouts, to give us a call,” FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson told Credit Union Times.
The FBI has released Spirikaitis’ driver’s license photo in an attempt to apprehend him.
Local police apparently were in a standoff with Spirikaitis on Tuesday evening after arriving at his home to arrest him at around 8 p.m. However, when authorities entered the home the next morning, he was not there.
Anderson said when police approached the home Tuesday evening, Spirikaitis’ relatives “gave every indication” the CEO – accused of embezzlement in the failure of the $23.6 million credit union – was inside.
“Family members left the house with us and we thought, from the information we gathered, that he was not going to willingly come out,” she said.
For safety’s sake in the residential neighborhood, Anderson said authorities waited until daybreak for tactical teams to move in. Additionally, Anderson said, the home is “huge,” which played a part in the decision to wait until daylight before entering.
The official charge – making false credit institution entries – is an unusual one. Anderson said the charge falls under the embezzlement category, and because it is one that could be quickly proven, FBI officials utilized the charge so authorities could quickly execute an arrest warrant.
Still, Anderson said authorities did not expect Spirikaitis to pose a flight risk.
The FBI agent also said Spirikaitis may have not acted alone.
“This is a very early on investigation, so we have a lot more work to do,” she said. “If people have information about Mr. Spirikaitis and his whereabouts, but also about any dealings that occurred (at the credit union), and wish to come in and talk about it, we’re more than open to that.”
The Ohio Department of Financial Institutions seized the Cleveland credit union Friday after determining it was insolvent and had no prospect for restoring viable operations. The DFI named the NCUA liquidating agent.