Attorney: Chasse Ballroom owner not competent to stand trial - WNEM TV 5

Attorney: Chasse Ballroom owner not competent to stand trial

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FENTON, MI (WNEM) -

UPDATE: Michael LaJoice is not competent to stand trial and should undergo a psychological evaluation, according to his attorney.

LaJoice appeared in court on Jan. 20, but a court hearing scheduled for next week was waived for the time-being. His attorney pushed for a psychological evaluation and the judge approved the motion.

The owner of a local dance studio has been charged, accused of embezzling millions from a Michigan credit union.

Michael LaJoice, from Fenton, went before an Oakland County judge on Jan. 8.

According to his LinkedIn account, LaJoice, owner of Chassé Ballroom and Latin Dance Studio, is the Chief Financial Officer for the Clarkston Brandon Community Credit Union in Oakland County.

The credit union has since been taken over by the state of Michigan.

LaJoice was charged on Jan. 8 with 14 counts of embezzlement.

"Mr. LaJoice admitted to embezzling an excess of $20 million," said Det. Dave Hendrick, Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

According to court documents, LaJoice was allegedly skimming $100,000 at a time, between 2003 and the end of 2015.

Officials said LaJoice turned himself into the Oakland County Sheriff's Department on Jan. 6 and confessed. 

Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe told the Detroit News on Jan. 6: "[We] weren't even aware of this until he came forward."

Assistant Prosecutor Robert Novy said LaJoice recently purchased a $1 million home with high-end appliances and a movie theater.

"His salary does not support the lifestyle this defendant has led," Novy said. "As we review his home he owns in Fenton, a lifestyle of the rich and famous."

Before turning himself in, LaJoice had embezzled $1.9 million from October 2015 to December 2015.

The website for Chassé Ballroom and Latin Dance Studio, which is located in Fenton, has a message advising people it is closed until further notice. The Facebook page has also been taken down.

LaJoice sat quietly during his arraignment, wearing a blank stare as Oakland County district court magistrate Daniel Schouman read the 14 counts. Each count is a 20-year felony.

Because LaJoice was not represented by a lawyer, Schouman entered a not guilty plea.

"I do anticipate there will be more charges coming forward," Novy said. "We've only started our investigation." 

LaJoice is being held in Oakland County on a $1 million bond.

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