|Derek DeWitt wanted to make an impression on his new employer.
DeWitt, 31, was hired last year as branch manager for the Holland, Mich., office of CTX Mortgage Co. He drummed up business by taking clients out on the town, and was able to snag large commission checks for his more productive loan officers.
But Ottawa County criminal court records show that DeWitt was spending money stolen from CTX to further his career -- and his personal lifestyle.
In addition to entertaining clients at restaurants and rewarding employees, DeWitt used some of the more than $30,000 he stole on personal items including a boat, car parts, prescriptions and even a trip to a Grand Rapids strip club, according to those court records and information from the Ottawa County prosecutor's office.
DeWitt was charged with embezzling $32,297 from CTX. He eventually plead guilty to attempted larceny from a building and avoided a lengthy jail session by paying restitution. He was fired after CTX discovered the theft.
DeWitt was writing second mortgages and then depositing funds from those transactions into his own bank account. He was supposed to be forwarding all the funds to CTX's home office. When the 2003 mortgage refinancing boom slowed down the discrepancies in DeWitt's accounting was exposed.
According to court records, a CTX division vice president testified in a December hearing that DeWitt opened an unauthorized bank account and then deposited money from company loan checks that he illegally cashed.
DeWitt used a debit card to spend the money, leaving a paper trail for company officials and local authorities. His crimes were discovered when a check that had been cashed could not be accounted for.
DeWitt avoided a trial by agreeing to the plea bargain offered by prosecutors, court records indicate. If he fails to make full restitution he could still face jail time.