Taupa Lithuanian Branch Quiet While CEO Sought by Feds: Onsite Coverage
CLEVELAND — Local newscasts that reported Alex Spirikaitis – former CEO of the liquidated Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union – was holed up in his suburban home after federal authorities tried to arrest him on fraud charges did not trigger a run on the Cleveland credit union Wednesday.
An armed security guard stood behind a glass door of the credit union office housed in a non-descript brick building on Cleveland’s east side.
The security guard told a reporter from Credit Union Times that the credit union has been closed, and that he has been handing out single-page informational leaflets to members. He would not say how many, if any, credit union members came to the branch since the standoff was reported by local Cleveland media.
The leaflet explains the NCUA was appointed as the liquidating agency and that checks will be mailed to members as soon as possible.
While now liquidated, the credit union’s website still said the branch is open Thursday through Saturday and that a branch at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church is open from 11 a.m. to noon on Sunday.
Chartered in 1984, Taupa Lithuanian CU has 1,154 members and $23.6 million in assets, according to NCUA.
Local Cleveland news outlets reported Alex Spirikaitis had been in a standoff with police since 8 p.m. Tuesday. Later Wednesday morning, however, the Cleveland news media also reported that a police standoff overnight at Spirikaitis’ home was in vain, because the FBI discovered the home was empty.
FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer it's unclear if Spirikaitis, who has a warrant for his arrest for fraud that led to the $23 million credit union’s failure, was ever at his home in suburban Solon.
The standoff began after police attempted to arrest Spirikaitis on Tuesday night. Anderson said a person at the home told police he was there but would not surrender.
Authorities are now searching for Spirikaitis and a reward is being offered for information that will help lead to his arrest.
"We will continue the investigation and hope he decides to turn himself in and make it a lot easier on everyone," Anderson told the Plain Dealer.
The Ohio Department of Financial Institutions made the decision to liquidate the credit union after determining it was insolvent and had no prospect for restoring viable operations.
The DFI named the NCUA liquidating agent and federal officials seized the credit union Friday.
Fraud was suspected after a review of the 1,154-member credit union’s financial performance reports showed a seemingly healthy credit union with 10.31% net worth, 0.78% delinquencies and no charge offs as of March 31.
However, cost of funds was reported to be 0.87%, much higher than the peer average of 0.36%.
The failed credit union’s website revealed it was not paying above average dividends to members, and liquidity was not an issue, indicating the credit union did not have outstanding borrowings that were driving up cost of funds.
The credit union reported a considerable amount of cash on its books, more than $15 million as of March 31, with just $729,595 in investments. Total loans were $7.4 million during that period.