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Clarkston — A former credit union chief financial officer charged with embezzling nearly $2 million in recent months will undergo a mental competency hearing at the state Center For Forensic Psychiatry.

Michael A. LaJoice, 36, of Tyrone Township is charged with 14 counts of embezzlement more than $100,000 from the Clarkston Brandon Community Credit Union between October and December.

LaJoice walked into the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office earlier this month and told police he took $20 million from the credit union over a 12-year period.

LaJoice’s attorney, Michael Manley, requested the forensic exam Wednesday before Clarkston 52-2 District Judge Joseph Fabrizio at what was to have been a probable cause hearing.

Jailed in lieu of $1 million bond, LaJoice appeared in court unshaven and in handcuffs. He told Fabrizio he understood he had a right to a preliminary examination in 21 days under law but was waiving that right.

Outside the courtroom, Manley said: “This isn’t a question of mental illness. This is to determine if he understands the charges he faces and can assist in his defense.”

The forensic exam could take 60 days, Manley said. Meanwhile, sheriff’s detectives will continue to probe credit union records and LaJoice’s financial dealings for anticipated additional charges.

“I expect there will be federal charges eventually because it involves a federally insured business,” said Manley, who said he had spoken to representatives from the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

LaJoice, married with three children, has no prior criminal history and was known as being generous to charitable causes.

Investigators believe about $2.5 million in credit union money went to buy a boarded-up store and laundromat, four houses and a commercial building in Fenton, where LaJoice planned a six-story mixed use project.

It is believed LaJoice — who was paid $65,000 a year at the credit union — allegedly used bogus investment documents to cover up the embezzlement.

LaJoice, who also owns a dance studio, sunk another $3 million into his own home. Investigators have located at least seven bank accounts, containing a total of $800,000, and believe there are others.

The charges are all felonies, each carrying up to 20 years in prison.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319

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