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Press Release

Former Bookkeeper At Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union Charged With Embezzlement

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

A former external bookkeeper of Taupa  Lithuanian Credit Union was charged today for engaging in a conspiracy that defrauded the credit union out of nearly $1 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.

Vytas Apanavicius, 44, of Mentor, was charged in a criminal information with one count of conspiracy to commit theft or embezzlement from a credit union.

Apanavicius owned VPA Accounting Inc., through which he provided bookkeeping and accounting services from 1995 through 2013. These services included recording month-end journal entries for general ledger accounts, paying and recording monthly expenses and compiling monthly balance sheets and income statements, according to the information.

From at least 2001, Apanavicius  controlled six accounts at Taupa. In his role as external bookkeeper, Apanavicius became aware that Taupa CEO Alex Spirikaitis routinely deposited and transferred Taupa funds into member accounts to cover multiple overdrafts, according to the information.

Apanavicius then withdrew funds from his accounts and did not maintain sufficient balances to cover withdrawals. Spirikaitis deposited and transferred Taupa funds into Apanavicius’ accounts to cover his overdrafts and withdrawals, according to the information.

Spirikaitis caused Taupa to make approximately 72 false and fraudulent deposits and transfers into Apanavicius’ accounts. He also provided Apanavicius with approximately $25,000 in fraudulent proceeds from Taupa for the purchase of a new Jeep Cherokee, according to the information.

As a result of that conspiracy, Taupa and the NCUA suffered a loss of approximately $962,689, according to the information.

The National Credit Union Administration and the Ohio Department of Commerce took possession of Taupa last July 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, 51, of Solon, Michael Ruksenas, 33, of Naples, Florida, and John Struna, 51, of Concord Township, have previously been charged for their roles in the conspiracy.

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.

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 information 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.

Updated March 12, 2015