Spirikaitis Prosecutors Seek Final Home Forfeiture Order
Prosecutors are asking a federal judge to approve a final order of forfeiture that would allow for the sale of a million-dollar home built by Alex R. Spirikaitis, the former president/CEO of the now shuttered $23.6 million Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union in Cleveland.
Spirikaitis had been a fugitive since July until he was nabbed by federal agents while walking on a sidewalk on Cleveland’s east side on Oct. 21. He has been charged with making false statements about the credit union’s finances.
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.
Because Spirikaitis waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Oct. 22 in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, his case was bound over to the federal grand jury for an indictment. The grand jury had a Nov. 20 deadline to return an indictment against him. That deadline, however, has been extended to Dec. 20.
If U.S. District Court Judge John R. Adams approves the final order of forfeiture, proceeds from the sale of Spirikaitis’ Cleveland suburban home would be distributed to the NCUA, according to court documents. The NCUA closed Taupa Lithuanian CU in July after declaring it was no longer solvent.
Funds from the sale of the home would also pay a $30,514 bill owed to a local contractor who landscaped Spirikaitis’ home in suburban Solon, Ohio. The U.S. government also would be reimbursed for costs related to the seizure of the property, court documents show.
In September, federal prosecutors seized the home, which features an indoor pool, entertainment room, a weight room, an elevator, a handicap track system, five and one-half bathrooms, and a fully equipped upstairs and downstairs kitchen. Federal authorities suspect the house was built with funds embezzled from the credit union as Spirikaitis was earning only $50,000 annually, according to court papers.
An FBI investigation found that 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 the corporate credit union. The affidavit also revealed Spirikaitis allegedly altered and modified Corporate One FCU 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 also 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.