Grand Jury Indicts Seven More in St. Paul Croatian FCU Fraud
A federal grand jury in Cleveland on Friday indicted seven more individuals – in addition to the nine already indicted – on criminal counts related to a fraud against the St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union which was conserved and liquidated by the NCUA last year.
Arben Alia was indicted on 11 counts of bank fraud, one count of bank bribery and five counts of money laundering. The indictment alleges he used the $4.5 million in fraudulent loans to fund gambling excursions and to purchase and renovate a bar and grill in suburban Cleveland.
Alia was also indicted for giving the credit union’s former COO Anthony Raguz a $100,000 bribe for approving and issuing the loans. Raguz was one of nine people indicted for bank fraud in March in connection with the credit union’s collapse.
Also indicted Friday were Qerim Ahmetaj, one count of bank fraud and one count of money laundering; Zoge Ahmetaj, one count of count bank fraud and two counts of money laundering; Ilir Marku, three counts of bank fraud and two counts of money laundering; Vaso Shani, one count of bank fraud and two counts of money laundering; Alban Sulkaj, one count of bank fraud and one count of money laundering.
In a related case, Skender Demiri was charged with one count of financial institution fraud, one count of bribery in connection with the business dealings of a financial institution, and one count of money laundering. He is accused of obtaining loans totaling $1.6 million by making false promises and giving former COO Raguz $50,000 to facilitate the approval of the loans.
“Federal and local investigators continue to peel away at the layers of fraud and corruption that were visited upon this financial institution. This investigation is ongoing, and will not stop until we have run down every lead,’’ Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio said in a statement.
The failure of St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union cost the NCUSIF $170 million.