Spirikaitis Case: More Than $10 Million Missing From Credit Union
More than $10 million may have been embezzled from the $23.6 million Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union in Cleveland.
That’s according to unsealed court documents in the case against former President/CEO Alex R. Spirikaitis, who was an FBI fugitive for more than three months before his arrest Monday and initial court appearance Tuesday.
The small credit union was liquidated by the NCUA in July. Authorities have seized Spirikaitis’ million-dollar home in the Cleveland suburb of Solon, and documents revealed Tuesday also said the former credit union executive had a cache of semi-automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition stored at the credit union when it was searched.
(Left, Taupa Lithuanian FCU's office the day after its closure.)
Spirikaitis is in federal custody after waiving his right to post bond for his release in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. Because he also waived his right for a preliminary hearing, the case has been bound over to a federal grand jury.
Federal prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against Spirikaitis for allegedly making false statements to a credit union from December 2011 to July of this year. The FBI and local police thought they were in a standoff after arriving at Spirikaitis’ home during the evening of July 16. However, when authorities entered the home the next morning, he was not there.
In July, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth S. McHargh sealed the arrest warrant for Spirikaitis and an accompanying affidavit to protect the FBI’s ongoing investigation that began in June.
McHargh unsealed the documents Monday after Spirikaitis was captured and arrested by FBI agents.
Those documents have revealed more than $10 million was embezzled by the alleged fraud that involved the falsification of NCUA Call Reports. That would make it one of the largest cases of embezzlement and fraud against a credit union. (The largest, involving St. Paul Croatian FCU, also was in Cleveland.)
Also read: Twelve Notorious Credit Union Heists
The affidavit detailing the FBI’s investigation stated Spirikaitis received a December 2011 bank statement that showed a total of $559,468 in Taupa CU’s accounts with the $4.5 billion Corporate One Federal Credit Union in Columbus.
However, the December 2011 NCUA Call Report falsely lists $16,165,288 in assets deposited with the correspondent credit union. Spirikaitis certified the December 2011 Call Report on Feb. 16, 2012, the records showed.
The affidavit also revealed Spirikaitis allegedly altered and modified Corporate One bank account statements.
“He printed out numbers he wanted to report to auditors and (to) NCUA and taped them over the real numbers from the true Corporate One bank account statement,” the affidavit stated. “Spirikaitis then photocopied the altered documents resulting in a document that mimicked the appearance of a statement coming directly from Corporate One.”
The credit union’s former board president said auditors and examiners alike were duped by Spirikaitis.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Patton, the lead prosecutor for the case, declined to comment Tuesday whether additional charges are pending against Spirikaitis.
Darin Thompson of the federal public defender’s office is representing Spirikaitis and said he expected to meet with his client Wednesday.