Scranton Five Plead Not Guilty
The former assistant manager of the $40 million Wilkes-Barre City Employees Federal Credit Union and a police officer approached individuals to use their name to apply for loans, and then refinanced those loans or added debt to them without the individual’s knowledge, according to federal indictments.
Amanda Magda, the former assistant manager of the Scranton, Pa.-based credit union, and member Jason Anthony, 34, a Wilkes-Barre city police officer, pleaded not guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Scranton to bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, court documents show.
Three others, Tino Ninotti, a former Wilkes-Barre city police officer, Jeffrey Serafin, a member, and Leo Glodzik, a Wilkes-Barre city contractor, also pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Glodzik was also charged and pleaded not guilty to witness tampering.
The indictments came just five months after Manager Jim Payne fatally shot himself at his Bear Creek, Pa., home in March. At that time, public reports surfaced he was potentially being targeted in an FBI investigation.
In at least one instance, court records said, Magda and Anthony paid cash to an unnamed individual for use of that individual’s name and credit. They also forged signatures on fraudulent loan documents.
While the indictment charged that Magda and Anthony either refinanced or added debt to fake loans they secured, only one loan totaling more than $7,000 was mentioned in court documents.
Magda allegedly signed a loan document as a witness to the individual who didn’t sign the document. Additionally, she allegedly knew Anthony forged the individual’s signature to secure the loan funds of $7,159, according to the indictment.
Court documents also show Ninotti, the former Wilkes-Barre city cop, also used the name of another credit union member to fraudulently obtain a $25,086 car loan.
Glodzik, a city contractor, allegedly supplied Ninotti with a fake vehicle identification number to obtain the loan, according to an indictment. What’s more, Magda signed the car loan documents as a witness and she allegedly knew the information on the loan documents was false.
Glodzik also was charged with witness tampering. He allegedly attempted to persuade Ninotti to fabricate an explanation about the bank fraud.
Jeffrey Serafin, a credit union member, also allegedly used an individual’s name to fraudulently obtain a $10,000 loan, court documents show.
The total amount of fake loans allegedly obtained by the Scranton five was more than $42,000.
Most of this fraud occurred from January to April of this year.
Soon after Payne committed suicide in March, Carrie Adamowski, an FBI spokesperson in Philadelphia, confirmed to CUTimes that Sean Quinn, director of the FBI’s Scranton office, said to the local media that he “considered the credit union as a witness and a victim in an ongoing criminal investigation. Individual employees of the credit union were potential targets of the investigation.”