Resident to ‘accept responsibility’ following scholarship fund embezzlement

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 11, 2020

 Craig Maass

Craig Maass

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — A Bloomfield Hills man who allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from a student scholarship trust is remorseful for his actions, his attorney said last week.

Craig Maass was scheduled to be due back in court Feb. 10, after press time, on six charges of embezzlement for reportedly taking $697,000 from the Oakland Hills Caddie Scholarship Trust.

According to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, the theft was noticed last summer when fiduciaries of the club were preparing the trust’s nonprofit paperwork and spotted some irregularities. When alerted to the discrepancy, Oakland Hills requested that a forensic audit be conducted, and a large figure was allegedly found to have been converted over for Maass’ personal use. The case was then passed along to the Sheriff’s Office for an investigation.

“Detectives from the (Oakland County) Sheriff’s Office Special Investigation Unit conducted interviews and obtained search warrants for Maass’ financial records,” reads a statement from the Sheriff’s Office. “At the conclusion of the investigation, the case was presented to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office and warrants were issued for Maass’ arrest.”

On Jan. 31, Maass was arraigned by Magistrate Julie Nelson-Klein in the 48th District Court and was given a $700,000 cash-or-surety bond with no 10%. His case was then passed to Judge Kimberly Small, and he’ll face six charges of embezzlement by a fiduciary over $100,000 — each of which is punishable by  20 years in prison and a fine of three times the value of the amount taken.

The Oakland Hills Caddie Scholarship Trust has awarded more than $1 million over the last 40 years to young caddies to help with their education costs, and it is funded by donations from members of the country club.

The club did not respond to requests for comment before press time.

Maass’ attorney, Clarence Dass, expressed how badly his client feels about his actions, though no plea had been entered into the court by press time.

“It’s still kind of early and I don’t know enough about the case, but from the very beginning he’s been remorseful — remorseful to the club, to everyone he let down, to his family — and he’s definitely been remorseful to everyone he has hurt throughout this process,” Dass said. “He’s been trying to make amends, but there is a penalty to everything.”

He added that his legal work will focus on helping Maass to make right the wrongs. That, and to decide what exactly that wrongdoing was worth.

“There are some disputes of what was taken: (Maass) has a number and the club has a number. That’s my job to figure out,” Dass explained. “We just want to get him to the end of this so those hurt can get some justice and he can accept responsibility for his actions.”