Not Guilty Plea in St. Paul Croatian Case in Cleveland
Svetislav Vujovic pleaded not guilty to charges of bank fraud, money laundering and bribery in U.S. District Court in Cleveland Friday in the $70 million fraud case that led to the collapse of the St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union in Eastlake, Ohio.
A federal indictment alleged Vujovic of Brunswick, Ohio, fraudulently obtained more than 35 loans over four years totaling $2.2 million.
He allegedly applied for these loans by making false representations and he received many of those loans even after having already defaulted on previous loans issued to him by the credit union, according to the indictment. These loans were obtained through various businesses.
The indictment also alleged that Vujovic gave $20,000 in cash payments to Anthony Raguz, the former CEO/president of SPCFCU, who was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison in November for his central role that led to one of the largest fraud cases in U.S. credit union history.
Raguz admitted to approving more than 1,000 fraudulent loans totaling $70 million to over 300 account holders at credit union from 2000 to 2010. He also accepted bribes totaling $1 million to approve loans, according to the original indictment.
About 20 people have been indicted for their role in SPCFCU’s collapse. Others involved also have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced, while some are awaiting trials.
The NCUA, which lost $186.4 million as a result of the SPCFCU fraud case, closed the credit union and began its liquidation process in May 2010.