News and Press Releases

Concord Township man indicted for defrauding Cleveland Credit Union out of $2.3 million

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 20, 2014

A seven-count federal indictment was returned charging a Concord Township man defrauding Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union out of $2.3 million, law enforcement officials said.

John Struna, 51, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of bank fraud, one count of making false statements and four counts of money laundering.

The indictment was announced by Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office, and Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations.

“Most people learn early in life that there is no such thing as free money,” Dettelbach said. “This defendant is charged as part of a group that used others' hard earned savings as a personal piggy bank. Mr. Struna’s greed has caught up with him with this indictment.”

“John Struna willfully overdrew his credit union accounts to the tune of $2.3 million through his relationship with a corrupt executive at the credit union,” Anthony said.

“Fraud schemes harm everyone, especially those where someone, for their own personal benefit, has taken what belonged to others,” Enstrom said. “IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to unraveling financial transactions and money laundering schemes where individuals attempt to conceal the true source of their money.”

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, based in Cleveland, had about 1,150 members and assets of approximately $24 million, according to court records.

Credit union CEO Alex Spirikaitis, former teller Michael Ruksenas and Vytas Apanavicius have previously been found guilty for their roles in conspiracies related to defrauding the credit union.

Struna maintained both personal and corporate accounts at Taupa dating back to 1995.  He began a conspiracy with Spirikaitis in 2002 and continued through 2013, during which time Spirikaitis caused Taupa to make approximately 46 fraudulent transfers into Struna’s accounts, according to the indictment.

In 2011, Struna requested and received $112,105 from Spirikaitis for the purchase of a condominium located in Ft. Myers, Florida. At no time did Struna submit any credit applications or loan documents, according to the indictment.

The fraudulent transfers totaled approximately $2.3 million. From 2002 through 2013, Struna repaid only approximately $15,000 of the $2.3 million Spirikaitis transferred into his accounts, according to the indictment.

The indictment also seeks to forfeit a 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, a 2014 Mazda 6 and the lost money.

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 and the Internal Revenue Service.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines which depend upon a number of factors unique to each case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the unique characteristics of the violation.  In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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