Sentencing Now Nov. 26 for St. Paul Croatian FCU CEO
A federal court sentencing hearing has been rescheduled for Anthony Raguz, the former CEO of St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union in Eastlake, Ohio, who pleaded guilty for his central role in one of the largest fraud cases in U.S. credit union history.
Raguz was set to be sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. The hearing has been rescheduled for next Monday, Nov. 26.
Raguz, one of 16 people charged by federal prosecutors in connection with SPCFCU’s collapse, issued more than 1,000 fraudulent loans totaling more than $70 million to over 300 account holders at SPCFCU from 2000 to April 2010. In October 2011, he pleaded guilty to six counts of bank fraud, money laundering and bank bribery.
Meanwhile, the NCUA said its projected loss in the SPCFCU case is now at $186.4 million, down slightly from its initial projected loss of $186.8 million.
“This number is under constant review and changes often due to ongoing changes, recoveries and discoveries in the overall liquidation case,” said John Fairbanks, the agency’s public affairs specialist. NCUA closed the credit union and began its liquidation process in May 2010.
The NCUA has filed 61 lawsuits against SPCFCU-related parties claiming monetary damages of more than $44 million. To date, it has recovered $1.2 million. The agency said it is working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to recover more than $2 million that had been deposited into bank accounts in the Balkan Republic of Macedonia by Koljo Nikolovski.
He was another pivotal figure in the SPCFCU fraud case who pleaded guilty earlier this year to 18 counts of bribery, bank fraud and money laundering. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison in April.
The NCUA said it also expects to recover $16.7 million from A. Eddy Zai who pleaded guilty in U.S. District Federal Court in Cleveland on Nov. 5 to nine counts of bank fraud, bribery, money laundering for his involvement in the credit union case.
Zai, 44, of suburban Pepper Pike, conspired with others, including Raguz, to submit false loan documents to the credit union to defraud the credit union of approximately $16.7 million. Zai also paid bribes and kickbacks to Raguz for using his position at the credit union to approve numerous loans to Zai and more than a dozen businesses he controlled and operated.
Federal prosecutors said some of these companies were created primarily to operate as a “safe haven” for credit union proceeds, while others also performed little or no legitimate business.
In addition, the NCUA’s liquidation efforts have so far netted $22.6 million in recoveries from all areas including loan payments and liquidation of cash accounts, the agency said.