Hearing Set for CFO's $20 Million Embezzlement Case.
The case of a CFO who admitted to embezzling $20 million from a Michigan credit union, which led to its conservatorship and merger, will be tried in an Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac, Mich.
Michael A. LaJoice waived his right to a preliminary examination of the charges brought against him during a hearing last week at the 52-2nd District Court in Clarkston, Mich.
The 37-year-old former executive for the $68 million Clarkston Brandon Community Credit Union in Clarkston is facing 14 felony counts of embezzlement. He pleaded not guilty to those charges in January.
His bond was set at $1 million. LaJoice is in Oakland County Jail and has been there since Jan. 6, according to county records.
A hearing before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl A. Matthews is scheduled for April 4.
Michael P. Manley, a Flint, Mich.-based defense lawyer who is representing LaJoice, said the multimillion-dollar commercial and residential properties that the former CFO bought with the credit union's stolen funds are expected to be sold, according to local media outlets.
Manley said liens have been filed against the properties and that there are prospective cash buyers for most of them, The Detroit News reported.
LaJoice's embezzlement was revealed on Jan. 6 when he walked into the Oakland County Sheriff's Office and told police investigators that he stole $20 million over 12 years from the credit union.
Two days before that, LaJoice was questioned about discrepancies uncovered in an audit. After he claimed that the discrepancies were a mistake, he left the credit union and never returned.
LaJoice allegedly admitted that he concealed the theft through fake transactions and investments, according to the Oakland County Sheriff.
A week after LaJoice was arrested, Clarkston Brandon Community was placed into conservatorship by the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. On Friday, the NCUA announced the cooperative was merged into the East Lansing, Mich.-based Michigan State University Federal Credit Union.
During the police investigation, a safe, computers and records were confiscated from LaJoice's 5,800-square-foot home that was originally reported to be valued at $1.3 million.
"We determined he put at least $4.5 million into that house," Michael McCabe, undersheriff and chief deputy for the Oakland County Sheriff, said. "He paid cash for the whole thing. He told his wife he was doing really well in the stock market, and he told people at the credit union he had a big inheritance to explain the lifestyle he was living."
The house featured a nine-seat movie theater, three sets of washers and dryers, and other top-of-the line appliances, according to police.
Rob Novi, an assistant prosecutor for Oakland County, said investigators found seven accounts totaling $800,000.
In addition, LaJoice founded LaJoice Properties LLC in April 2015. That company publicly announced plans in October to build a $31 million retail and residential project that local media reported was the biggest development project in the history of Fenton, Mich., which is located about 60 miles northwest of Detroit.
He has also been the owner of ChassA(c) Ballroom and Latin Dance Studio in Fenton since June 2007, according to his LinkedIn page.
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|Publication:||Credit Union Times|
|Date:||Mar 25, 2016|
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