Community moving forward after embezzlement case - WNEM TV 5

Community moving forward after embezzlement case

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Michael LaJoice (Source: Oakland County) Michael LaJoice (Source: Oakland County)
FENTON TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

He was sentenced for embezzling millions from the community he was supposed to be a part of, now that community is moving on.

On Monday the energy was through the roof at Fenton Fitbody Boot Camp.

The new workout facility closed the book on a darker chapter. They took over the building that used to be home to the Chasse Ballroom and Latin Dance Studio.

The ballroom and the deception used by Michael LaJoice to open it have all been erased.

"You don't know what you missed I guess, until you actually have it," said Melissa Adams, Fenton resident.

On Monday a judge sentenced the former chief financial advisor for Clarkston-Brandon Community Credit Union to seven to 20 years in prison. Investigators said LaJoice stole nearly $19 million in one of the biggest fraud cases Mid-Michigan has ever seen.

Part of the money LaJoice embezzled went toward buying property, including in downtown Fenton. He had plans of a multi-million dollar development.

The $31 million riverview project was also discarded shortly after his arrest.

"I was like oh great, just when we thought something was going to come in there. And now you know, this happened," said Jon Hansard, Fenton resident.

Those dashed dreams have a second chance at life.

The city manager said a new developer has purchased the three acre parcel and is drafting plans for its use.

"It hurt, but we have to push on and we have to look forward to what we need to do next," Hansard said.

Like the Chasse commercials that used to play, LaJoice's deceit is soon to be forgotten.

"It's really been a drop in the bucket. We've rebounded very well and I don't see the impact of that at all," Adams said.

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