Ohio Man Convicted in St. Paul Croatian Collapse
A federal jury in U.S. District Court in Cleveland has convicted a 41-year-old Ohio man in the $70 million fraud case that led to the collapse of the St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union.
After a seven-day trial, Svetislav Vujovic was found guilty May 14 on 10 counts of making false statements to a federal credit union, two counts of money laundering and one count each of financial institution fraud and giving gifts for procuring loans.
Federal prosecutors said Vujovic, who faces sentencing in August, fraudulently obtained dozens of business and personal loans totaling more than $3 million over four years.
The Brunswick, Ohio, man applied for loans by making false statements and representations. What's more, Vujovic received many of these loans even after he defaulted on previous loans issued to him, according to court documents.
Prosecutors also showed that Vujovic gave $20,000 in cash payments to Anthony Raguz, the former CEO/president of SPCFCU, to approve the loans. Raguz was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison in November 2012 for his central role in the massive fraud scheme.
Raguz admitted to approving more than 1,000 fraudulent loans totaling $70 million to over 300 account holders at the cooperative from 2000 to 2010. He also accepted bribes totaling $1 million to approve loans.
About 20 people have been indicted for their role in SPCFCU's collapse, according to federal authorities. Others involved have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced, while some are awaiting trial. The NCUA lost $186.4 million in the collapse and has sued Vujovic for $6.9 million.