Taupa Suit Adds Ex-CEO's Wife as Target
A civil suit filed by Erie Affiliates Inc. claims that Julie A. Spirikaitis — wife of Alex R. Spirikaitis, former president/CEO of the shuttered Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union — was “complicit in the scheme to defraud” the Ohio general contractor out of $505,985.
Mrs. Spirikaitis, who is divorcing her husband of nearly 20 years, responded that she was not involved in any fraud scheme. And the NCUA wants the suit dismissed, saying it interferes with the liquidation.
Alex Spirikaitis has been charged with making false statements to a credit union for his role in the alleged embezzlement of $10 million to $16 million that led to the Cleveland cooperative's collapse. He is in federal custody.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth McHargh in Cleveland has extended his deadline to Jan. 19 to give Alex Spirikaitis and his lawyer more time to conduct pre-indictment negotiations with prosecutors.
Erie Affiliates Inc. of suburban Willoughby held $505,985 in an account at Taupa Lithuanian. Just a few weeks after the NCUA closed the credit union on July 12, the company filed a lawsuit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in Cleveland against Julie and Alex Spirikaitis.
The lawsuit claimed Alex Spirikaitis told Erie Affiliates the company's funds were placed in insured accounts. The suit charges Spirikaitis stole the funds and that his wife “was complicit and acted in concert with Alex Spirikaitis in hiding, spending and using (Erie Affiliates’) money for her own use, pleasure and enjoyment.”
In court papers responding to the Erie Affiliates’ lawsuit, however, Julie Spirikaitis denied “any complicity whatsoever in allegations against Alex Spirikaitis’ use or conversion of funds.”
Federal prosecutors have said they plan to charge six other individuals in the credit union's massive fraud case. Former teller Michael Ruksenas pleaded guilty Dec. 2 in Cleveland's U.S. District Court to conspiring to embezzle more than $481,000 and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators.
In September, Julie Spirikaitis filed for divorce. She is caring for their 16-year-old twin boys, one severely disabled by cerebral palsy, according to court documents.
As a result of the Erie Affiliates lawsuit, a county judge has granted an order for pre-judgment attachment, which prevents the sale of a home owned by Alex and Julie Spirikaitis. The house, located in suburban Solon, has been valued at $188,000.
Alex and Julie Spirikaitis lived in this house before they moved into a million-dollar house in November 2012. Federal authorities suspect this house, about a mile away from the Spirikaitis’ old house, was built with embezzled funds because the former CEO was earning only $50,000 annually, according to court papers.