March Trial Date Set For St. Paul Croatian Suspect
A March 11 trial date has been set for Gezim Selgjekaj of Avon Lake, Ohio, who pleaded not guilty to a 28-count indictment on Jan. 17 that accused him of illegally receiving more than $11 million in the $70 million St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union fraud case.
A federal indictment revealed earlier this month that Selgjekaj was in federal prison when he received millions of dollars in fraudulent loans from St. Paul Croatian, which is based in the Cleveland suburb of Eastlake, Ohio. The credit union collapsed in April 2010.
The indictment charged Selgjekaj with one count of conspiracy, six counts of bribery, six counts of money laundering and 15 counts of financial institution fraud.
The indictment alleged Selgjekaj received $3.6 million between 2004 and 2008 despite the fact that he was in federal prison for unrelated conduct.
From March 2003 through July 2004, Selgjekaj also received an additional $5 million in fraudulent loans from St. Paul Croatian. Moreover, even after defaulting on the $8.6 million in loans, Selgjekaj received an additional $2.9 million in loans from the credit union between 2008 and 2010, according to the indictment.
Selgjekaj allegedly managed to bilk millions of dollars from the credit union because he conspired with Anthony Raguz, the former chief operating officer at St. Paul, and others.
Raguz 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. He admitted to approving more than 1,000 fraudulent loans totaling $70 million to over 300 account holders at the credit union from 2000 to 2010. He also accepted bribes totaling $1 million to approve loans, according to the original indictment.
Selgjekaj allegedly submitted false and fraudulent loan applications to Raguz, including submitting loan requests in nominee’s names when Selgjekaj’s aggregate loan balances reached a level that could have drawn attention from auditors or members of the credit union’s board.
According to federal authorities, Selgjekaj gave Raguz $40,000 in cash and five checks totaling $66,000 to reward him for providing the fraudulent loans.
Selgjekaj’s trial will be held in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.