Credit Union Leader Denies Alleged Shell Game
A former president of a small Illinois credit union was accused of misapplying about $550,000 in a loan scheme that benefitted members with bad credit and minimized the institution’s loan delinquencies, according to court documents obtained by CU Times.
Charles Juska, former president of the $25 million Tazewell County School Employees Credit Union in Pekin, Ill., pleaded not guilty to charges he forged at least seven members’ signatures, created numerous fraudulent loans over a five-year span and cooked the books to cover his tracks, the documents said.
Juska, 52, who was indicted in May, pleaded not guilty June 26 in U.S. District Court in Peoria, Ill., and was released on bond with his next court set Aug. 7, according to court records. He is facing 10 federal counts of misapplication of funds and false entry into records.
Juska, who served as the credit union’s president for 17 years before his departure in December 2010, allegedly orchestrated an elaborate loan scheme that involved creating unauthorized loans and accounts, shifting money between the accounts and falsifying the books, the court documents said.
For members who were not eligible for a loan or having trouble making loan payments, Juska created loans in the names of other members by forging signatures, and used those funds to cover other members’ loans and delinquencies, the indictment stated.
The court documents do not specify whether Juska profited personally from the alleged crimes.
In the loan applications, he provided false information, including listing collateral that allegedly did not exist, failed to verify the value of other collateral, and used the same collateral for multiple loans, resulting in unsecured or under-secured loans, the indictment stated.
The former banker also concealed delinquent loans from his board of directors and loan committee by adjusting loan rates to lower the payments and not revealing the lower rate to the board, the documents said.
In addition, he allegedly created new loans for members with delinquent loans and used those funds to make payments on the delinquencies, court records stated.
He also concealed some delinquencies by writing loan advances on existing loans, allowing members to use the advances to make payments on the same loans, the documents said.
According to the credit union’s financial reports posted on the NCUA’s website, TCSECU’s net worth took a major hit in the final quarter of 2010, when Juska left the cooperative. The credit union reported 8.71% net worth as of Dec. 31, down sharply from 12.43% the previous quarter. Net charge offs increased from 3.75% of average loans during the third quarter 2010 to 15.03% the fourth quarter. Additionally, the credit union reported a $1.2 million net loss for 2010.
Since then, TCSECU has recovered its net worth to 10.87% as of March 31, 2014. However, profitability has not returned. As of year-end 2013, the credit union reported a nearly $90,000 net loss, and reported another $31,219 net loss as of March 31, 2014.
As one of the conditions of being released on a personal recognizance bond, Juska must notify any present or future employer about the charges, if the employment involves conducting any duties related to financial transactions or accounting.