Former Cops to Plead Guilty to CU Fraud
Two former police officers who were members of the $38 million Wilkes-Barre City Employees Federal Credit Union are expected to plead guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud during an April 27 plea hearing in U.S. District Court in Scranton, Pa.
In exchange for the guilty pleas, federal prosecutors dropped bank fraud charges against Tino Ninotti, a retired police officer for the Wilkes-Barre, Pa., police department, and Jason Anthony, a former Wilkes-Barre city police officer.
Court documents showed Ninotti used the name of another credit union member to fraudulently obtain a $25,086 car loan. Anthony forged an individual’s signature to secure a $7,159 credit union loan, federal prosecutors said.
Ninotti and Anthony are the second and third of five defendants to plead guilty in a $45,000 fake loan scheme that also involved the cooperative’s former assistant manager, Amanda Magda, former city contractor Leo Glodzik and credit union member Jeffrey Serafin.
All five defendants were originally indicted in August 2014, just five months after Manager Jim Payne fatally shot himself at his Bear Creek, Pa., home in March 2014. At that time, public reports surfaced he was potentially being targeted in an FBI investigation.
Soon after Payne committed suicide in March, Carrie Adamowski, an FBI spokesperson in Philadelphia, confirmed to CU Times 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.”
Serafin was the first of the five defendants to plead guilty on Jan. 23 to one count of bank fraud. He admitted to using an individual’s name to fraudulently obtain a $10,000 loan, court documents showed. He is scheduled to be the first one to be sentenced on May 5.
On April 14, federal prosecutors charged Glodzik with a second bank fraud charge and two additional charges of making false statements on loan statements. He pleaded not guilty.
Last August, Glodzik was originally charged with one count of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of witness tampering. He pleaded not guilty to those charges as well.
The new fraud charges are part of a continuing investigation involving the Wilkes-Barre City Employees FCU, federal prosecutors said. Glodzik allegedly aided in the making of a false statement by using a fraudulent check drawn on a closed bank account as collateral for a $3,500 loan from the credit union to Ninotti in July 2013. Additional fraud charges were not brought against Ninotti.
Glodzik allegedly supplied Ninotti with a fake vehicle identification number to obtain the $25,086 loan, according to an indictment. In the witness tampering charge, Glodzik allegedly attempted to persuade Ninotti to fabricate an explanation about the bank fraud.
Magda also pleaded not guilty to bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Magda signed a loan document as a witness to a signature of an individual who did not actually sign the documents.
She allegedly knew that co-defendant Jason Anthony forged the individual’s signature in order to secure a $7,159 credit union loan.
Glodzik and Magda are scheduled to stand trial on June 15, according to court documents.