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Press Release

Two Men Charged With Defrauding Cleveland Credit Union Out Of $1.9 Million

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

Two men from Northeast Ohio were charged with conspiring to defraud a Cleveland credit union out of nearly $1.9 million, law enforcement officials said.

Gary Chaney, 49, of Streetsboro, and Patrick Bruckman, 58, of Chester Township, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit theft or embezzlement from a credit union.

The charges were announced by Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Stephen D. Anthony and Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office.

Bruckman and Chaney both maintained personal accounts at Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union, as well as a corporate account for Network Systems Engineering (NSE), a computer consulting firm they owned together, according to the information.

Bruckman, Chaney, credit union CEO Alex Spirikaitis and others conspired to defraud the credit union from at least 2007 through 2013. During that time, Bruckman and Chaney knowingly wrote checks drawn on their personal and corporate accounts for which there were insufficient funds, according to the criminal information.

Chaney withdrew approximately $241,000 from his personal account, Bruckman withdrew approximately $63,000 from his personal account and they collectively withdrew $1,582,000 from their corporate accounts for which there were insufficient funds, for a total loss to the credit union of $1,886,000, according to the information.

Chaney and Bruckman did not have sufficient funds in their accounts to cover the checks, and Spirikaitis allowed the overdrafts to clear the account. Chaney and Bruckman made minimal deposits to their accounts, which did not offset the large amount of funds which Spirikaitis transferred to their accounts at Taupa. At no time during the conspiracy did Chaney or Bruckman submit any credit applications or loan documentation for the money they received from Spirikaitis to cover their overdrafts, according to the information.

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.

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

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 defendants’ sentences 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