Former Chief Financial Officer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement
A former chief financial officer of a Clarkston, Michigan, credit union, pleaded guilty today to embezzling more than $18 million from his employer, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division.
Michael A. Lajoice, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud before U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain.
According to plea documents, LaJoice was employed by the Clarkston Brandon Community Credit Union (CBCCU), which was a federally insured financial institution. LaJoice began his employment as an Account Manager and later became CBCCU’s Chief Financial Officer in June 2015. As such, LaJoice was responsible for the accounting functions of CBCCU, which included producing CBCCU's financial statements, making general ledger entries and ACH transfers, tracking investments and reconciling CBCCU’s corporate account statements.
Between January 2003 and January 2016, Lajoice embezzled more than $18 million from CBCU. Over the years, Lajoice used a variety of methods to execute and cover up his embezzlement. In some instances, Lajoice issued cashier’s checks from various CBCCU accounts without authorization and deposited those funds into accounts at other financial institutions that he controlled. In other instances, Lajoice used Automated Clearing House (ACH) withdrawals to conduct unauthorized transfers from CBCCU’s accounts to his own personal accounts held at other financial institutions. To conceal the fraud, Lajoice created fictitious investments in certificates of deposit and bonds, and represented to auditors and bank examiners that the money he stole had in fact been invested in these vehicles.
Lajoice will be sentenced on March 21, 2017. He faces a statutory maximum term of 30 years’ imprisonment. The advisory sentencing guidelines contained in his plea agreement call for a term of imprisonment of between 121-151 months.
The case was investigated by the FBI, Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, and investigators from the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Abed Hammoud and John K. Neal are prosecuting the case. Assistant United States Attorney Philip Ross is handling the asset forfeiture proceeding