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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Former Teller At Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union Charged For His Role In Collapse

A former employee of Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union was criminally charged for his role in a conspiracy that led to the Cleveland institution’s collapse earlier this year, 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.

Michael Ruksenas, 33, of Naples, Florida, was charged via criminal information with one count of conspiracy to commit theft or embezzlement from a credit union. His role in the conspiracy resulted in a loss to Taupa of more than $480,000, according to the charges

“This defendant is part of a group that took advantage of the trust of hundreds of people for their own personal gain,” Dettelbach said.

“Michael Ruksenas is accused of being a willful beneficiary of a financial scam being committed on members of the Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union,” Anthony said. “The FBI will continue efforts to see that fraudsters such as Mr. Ruksenas are brought to justice.”

From 2007 through this year, Ruksenas, Alex Spirikaitis (not charged herein) and others engaged in a conspiracy to commit theft or embezzlement from the credit union, according to the information.

Ruksenas worked as a teller from 1999 through 2006 at Taupa, which was located at 767 East 185th Street in Cleveland. Spirikaitis routinely reviewed the daily share draft report, circled names of certain members listed on the report with NSF checks, and instructed Ruksenas in his capacity as teller to honor and pay the NSF checks Spirikaitis had circled, according to the information.

After Ruksenas learned Spirikaitis honored overdrafts from certain accounts, he withdrew funds from his two accounts. Spirikaitis then transferred funds from Taupa directly into Ruksenas’ personal accounts to cover Ruksenas’ overdrafts, according to the information.

Also, Ruksenas worked as a home health aide for one of Spirikaitis’ relatives from 2007 through 2009, during which time Spirikaitis used credit union funds to purchase Ruksenas a Jeep Cherokee, according to the information.

As a result of the conspiracy, Taupa and the National Credit Union Association (which insures credit unions) lost approximately $481,502, according to the information.

On July 12, 2013, the NCUA and the Ohio Department of Commerce took possession of Taupa and placed it into receivership due to its insolvency. Taupa had about 1,150 members and assets of approximately $24 million, according to the information.

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