Judge Gives Spirikaitis Time to Negotiate Plea Deal
Alex R. Spirikaitis and his lawyer have been given more time to conduct pre-indictment negotiations with federal prosecutors over Spirikaitis’ role in a massive fraud case that led to the collapse of the $23.6 million Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union in Cleveland.
U. S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth S. McHargh approved Spirikaitis’ request to extend the indictment deadline to Dec. 20 in order to “fully explore pre-indictment negotiations with the government,” according to court documents filed on Nov. 1 in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.
Because Spirikaitis waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Oct. 22, his case was bound over to the federal grand jury for an indictment. The grand jury has a Nov. 20 deadline to return an indictment against him.
Attorney Darin Thompson, representing Spirikaitis, declined a Credit Union Times request for comment Nov. 5.
The 51-year-old Spirikaitis had been a fugitive until he was nabbed by federal agents on Oct. 21 while walking on a sidewalk on Cleveland's east side. In July, police thought they had trapped Spirikaitis in his home, but when they entered they discovered he was not there. He remains in federal custody.
Court documents revealed that more than $10 million may have been embezzled from the credit union, which would make it one of the largest fraud cases in credit union history.
The FBI's investigation found Spirikaitis received a December 2011 bank statement that showed a total of $559,468 in Taupa's accounts at the $4.5 billion Corporate One Federal Credit Union in Columbus, Ohio.
However, Spirikaitis reported on the credit union's December 2011 NCUA Call Report $16,165,288 in assets at a corporate credit union. The affidavit also revealed Spirikaitis allegedly altered and modified Corporate One bank account statements for examiners.
“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.”
Court documents revealed that NCUA authorities discovered 10,000 rounds of ammunition and multiple semi-automatic weapons in the credit union's storage room in July when they seized the institution.
What remains a mystery is why Spirikaitis kept these weapons and ammunition in the credit union. Federal prosecutors and the FBI declined to comment on Spirikaitis' intent.