United Bank of Michigan senior vice president sentenced for embezzlement and tax evasion


Date: July 12, 2023

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Grand Rapids, MI — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced the sentencing of a former United Bank of Michigan senior vice president for embezzlement and tax evasion. John Figg of Grand Rapids, was sentenced to a prison term of 41 months followed by 36 months of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney. Figg was also ordered to pay restitution of $870,000 to United Bank of Michigan and $146,300 to the Internal Revenue Service.

"We trust our financial institutions to be wise stewards of our savings," said U.S. Attorney Totten. "Figg pilfered funds entrusted to him as a bank official and broke both the law and the public's trust. He must now deal with the consequences of his embezzlement and tax evasion."

This criminal case stems from the discovery of Figg's embezzlement of over $870,000 from United Bank of Michigan between 2014 and 2021. At the time, he was a senior vice president of the bank. 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 who 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.

Figg was charged with bank embezzlement in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 656. This carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. He was also charged with tax evasion in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7201, which carries a maximum prison term of five years in prison. Figg pled guilty to these charges in March 2023.

"The IRS, along with our law enforcement partners, will vigorously pursue those who use their position of trust to victimize clients and violate the law," said Charles Miller, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (CI), Detroit Field Office. "Today's sentence demonstrates the government's determination to restore and ensure that trust."

"Mr. Figg engaged in illegal conduct that has the potential to undermine the financial health of banks and credit unions," said Devin J. Kowalski, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. "Today's sentence sends a message to any corrupt bank employee that the combined efforts of the FBI and IRS will ensure they are held fully accountable for their crimes."

This case was investigated by CI and the FBI. Prosecution of the case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Timothy VerHey.