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Former Clarkston credit union CFO pleads guilty to embezzling more than $18M from employer

Michael A. LaJoice pleads guilty to one count of bank fraud

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CLARKSTON, Mich. – The former chief financial officer of a Clarkston credit union pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling more than $18 million from his employer, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced.

Michael A. LaJoice, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud.

LaJoice became the CFO of Clarkston Brandon Community Credit Union, or CBCCU, in June 2015, according to plea documents. LaJoice was responsible for the accounting functions of CBCCU, which includes producing financial statements, making general ledger entries and ACH transfers, tracking investments and reconciling CBCCU's corporate account statements, according to the documents.

From January 2003 to January 2016, LaJoice embezzled more than $18 million from the credit union.

Over the years, LaJoice used a variety of methods to execute and cover up his embezzlement, officials said. In some instances, LaJoice issued cashier's checks from various accounts without authorization and deposited those funds into accounts at other financial institutions he controlled, officials said. He also used ACH withdrawals to conduct unauthorized transfers from accounts to his own personal accounts at other financial insitutions, officials said.

Officials said LaJoice created false investments in certificates of deposit and bonds to cover up the fraud. He represented to auditors and bank examiners that the money he stole had in fact been invested in vehicles, officials said.

LaJoice is expected to be sentenced March 21, 2017, He faces a maximum term of 30 years in prison.

The advisory-sentencing guidelines in his plea agreement call for a term of imprisonment of 121 to 151 months.

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