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Solon man who hid from FBI gets 11 years for $15M fraud
Originally posted: 4:27 p.m. EST December 1, 2014 on WKYC.com
(Reprinted with permission. © 2014 WKYC, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.)
CLEVELAND — The former chief executive officer of Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union was sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison for leading a conspiracy that defrauded the credit union out of $15 million, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office.
Alex Spirikaitis, 52, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Spirikaitis personally embezzled about $4.2 million from Taupa between 2001 and 2013 and used the money to build a home in Solon, obtain a luxury suite at Cleveland Browns games, and buy multiple vehicles and firearms, according to court documents.
U.S. District Judge James Gwin sentenced Spirikaitis to 130 months in prison and ordered him to pay $15 million in restitution.
“This defendant is now paying the price for stealing millions of dollars from credit union members who entrusted him,” Dettelbach said. “He lived a life of luxury based on stolen money.”
“Alex Spirikaitis spent more than a decade engaged in corrupt actions before fleeing from the home he purchased with credit union funds,” Anthony said. “The FBI is proud that this fraudster was brought to justice.”
The National Credit Union Administration and the Ohio Department of Commerce took possession of Taupa last year and placed it into receivership due to its insolvency. Taupa had about 1,150 members and assets of approximately $24 million, according to court records.
Spirikaitis used the money he embezzled buy multiple firearms, which he stored at the credit union, and a suite for Cleveland Browns games. He used Taupa’s money to purchase nine vehicles for himself and his family between 2007 and 2012, according to court records.
He also used Taupa funds to write 26 checks between November 2011 and November 2012, totaling $1,655,000, to build a home on Liberty Road in Solon, according to court records.
He also engaged in a conspiracy with several other people, and their actions led to a loss of approximately $15 million to the credit union and NCUA. Spirikaitis allowed friends and associates to overdraw their accounts by more than $1 million. He also approved loans without seeking any relevant financial information, according to court documents.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. Patton and Special Assistant United States Attorney Derek Kleinmann. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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