$14 Million Loan Fraud Scheme Caused New York Credit Union Failure
A bulletin released this week by the FBI revealed the reason the NCUA seized the $52 million Broome County Teachers FCU of Binghamton, N.Y., back in June of 2011: loan fraud.
Scott A. Lonzinski, 32, of Clifford Township, Pa., and his mother, Laura Conarton, 46, of Great Bend, Pa., pled guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to fraud in connection to a scheme that netted them more than $14 million from 10 loans obtained from Broome County Teachers.
The loans were secured by fraudulent certificates from a local bank, the FBI said Tuesday. The two created phony documents, including false bank statements, and a fictitious persona to pull off the scam.
Lonzinski owned and operated a construction business where Conarton worked as manager and bookkeeper, and the loan proceeds were used to finance the business, purchase business vehicles, purchase and remodel Lonzinski’s primary residence, acquire personal automobiles for Lonzinski, Conarton, and other family members, and pay other business and personal expenses.
The NCUA discovered the fraud during an exam, and placed the credit union under conservatorship. Its assets were purchased by the $3 billion Visions Federal Credit Union of Endicott, N.Y. in December 2011.
Bank accounts, property, automobiles and cash worth more than $5 million have been recovered from the duo, and will be applied toward restitution to the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, said NCUA spokesman John Fairbanks.
Lonzinski and Conarton both face a maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1 million. Sentencing is scheduled for Lonzinski Dec. 19 and Conarton Dec. 20.