Cops: Credit union official admits embezzling millions
Pontiac — A Livingston County man known for generous acts of charity is expected to face charges for allegedly embezzling $20 million from an Oakland County credit union.
An official of Clarkston Brandon Community Credit Union is jailed after walking into the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and admitting he had looted funds from the facility since 2003, authorities said Thursday.
The man’s story stunned investigators, who said it wasn’t known that any money was missing.
“A man walked into the sheriff’s office Wednesday morning on his own saying he wanted to give himself up because he was responsible for millions of dollars in embezzlement over a 12-year period from the credit union where he worked,” Undersheriff Michael McCabe confirmed Thursday. “We weren’t even aware of this until he came forward.”
The suspect — who is married and has young children — was arrested Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
Investigators from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office executed search warrants at several locations and on accounts linked to the man.
Investigators froze bank accounts of the suspect, who was not named pending formal charges.
A safe, computers and business records were removed from a Livingston County home and were still being examined Thursday as investigators attempt to track down missing funds.
It was not known what prompted the man to turn himself in, and investigators are still trying to determine if anyone else was involved. The scheme involved bogus transactions and investments to mask the taking of funds for the suspect’s own purposes, according to a preliminary investigation.
The scheme all began to unravel during a recent audit at the credit union on Ortonville Road. It remains unclear why the missing funds were overlooked.
The credit union, in operation since 1957, has more than 9,300 members, 15 employees and lists resources of more than $60 million.
A credit union official stressed the personal accounts of members are all safe and whole.
“We are currently conducting an investigation into an possible embezzlement of funds from the credit union by a former employee,” said Donna Bullard, president and CEO of the credit union. “While this investigation is proceeding, we want to assure our members that it is business as usual at the credit union.”
Bullard reminded credit union members that all accounts are insured by the National Credit Union Administration, a federal share insurance agency, for up to $250,000.
“At this time we are unable to comment any further while the investigation is ongoing,” she said. “Members will be updated in the future when more information is available.”
Investigators believe the embezzled funds went to support a lifestyle that exceeded the man’s $65,000 annual salary, including a $1.3 million, 5,800-square foot home. The suspect also started and heavily promoted a private business, one of several he told others he planned to build over the next decade.
The man, who has a bachelor’s degree in accounting, was known locally for his generosity to charity efforts for the needy. He recently was honored by a local chamber of commerce for his community service efforts.