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Press Release

United Bank Senior Vice President Pleads Guilty To Embezzlement And Tax Evasion

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced that John Figg, 56, of Grand Rapids Michigan pleaded guilty to federal charges which stem from the discovery of his embezzlement of over $870,000 from United Bank between 2014 and 2021. 

          “Hardworking citizens are entitled to know that when they entrust their money to a bank, it will remain there safe and secure,” said U.S. Attorney Totten. “This prosecution serves as a reminder to bank officials that we will not tolerate any violation of the trust we put in our banks.”

          According to court documents, Figg used his access to bank records to obtain funds in a variety of ways. First, he identified customer accounts held by depositors that did not scrutinize their accounts and used his access to them to remove funds for his own use.  Second, he obtained phony loans in customer names and used the loan proceeds for his own use.  Third, he funneled fees normally collected by the bank in connection with loan closing costs to his own use. This resulted in losses of approximately $870,000.

          Figg generated taxable income from this activity between 2016 and 2020.  However, he concealed this income from his tax preparer when that person prepared his tax returns.  As a result, each year Figg underreported his taxable income knowing that it was subject to taxation and with the intent to avoid payment of those taxes.

          “Mr. Figg betrayed the trust placed in him by his employer and the public, who have every right to expect bank employees to be honest and law abiding,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “This type of illegal conduct can undermine the financial health of banks and credit unions. As a result, the FBI and IRS will continue our work to hold corrupt insiders fully accountable for their crimes.”

          “John Figg abused a position of trust as an officer at a federally insured bank when he stole money from unsuspecting victims. He then concealed these funds and used them for his own personal gain,” said Charles Miller, Acting Special Agent in Charge Detroit Field Office, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. “The IRS is committed to working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners to aggressively investigate individuals who engage in financial fraud and tax evasion and make them accountable for their crimes.”

          Figg pleaded guilty to two federal crimes today.  The first is embezzlement by a bank employee in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 656. This carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.  The second crime is tax evasion in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7201, which carries a maximum prison term of five years in prison.   Sentencing will occur at a date to be determined by U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney.                 

          This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.  Prosecution of the case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Timothy VerHey.   


Updated March 7, 2023

Consumer Protection
Financial Fraud