Another Defendant in St. Paul Croatian Fraud Case Faces Charges Friday
A Brunswick, Ohio, man will face charges of bank fraud, money laundering and bribery in U.S. District Court in Cleveland in the $70 million fraud case that led to the collapse of the St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union in 2010.
Svetislav Vujovic is scheduled to be arraigned Friday before U.S. District Judge Greg White to face charges that he fraudulently obtained more than 35 loans over four years totaling $2.2 million, according to court records.
An indictment also alleged that Vujovic gave $20,000 in cash payments to Anthony Raguz, the former CEO/president of SPCFCU, who 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.
Raguz admitted to approving more than 1,000 fraudulent loans totaling $70 million to over 300 account holders at credit union from 2000 to 2010. He also accepted bribes totaling $1 million to approve loans, according to the original indictment.
Earlier this month, Ted Vannelli of Willoughby, Ohio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Cleveland to serve one day in prison and five years of supervised release for his role in the SPCFCU case. One of the conditions of his supervised release was to participate in a six-month location monitoring program.
According to court records, Vannelli pleaded guilty in April to financial fraud and aiding a commission for procuring loans.
Vannelli worked with his son-in-law A. Eddy Zai in a number of different companies that were involved in the SPCFCU case. Zai pleaded guilty in U.S. District Federal Court in Cleveland in November to nine counts of bank fraud, bribery, and money laundering and agreed to forfeit $16.7 million. The businesses were created to serve as a safe haven for the money fraudulently obtained from the credit union, prosecutors alleged.
Vannelli’s participation in the SPCFCU case was primarily that of an “errand boy” who delivered cash to Raguz, court records show. In return, Raguz approved loans for the businesses Vannelli worked for. He also signed off on fraudulent information to obtain a loan from another bank, court records show.
However, Vannelli will be given a light sentence in exchange for cooperating with federal prosecutors that prosecuted Zai, according to court records. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 5.
About 20 people have been indicted for their role in SPCFCU’s collapse. Others involved also have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced, while some are awaiting trials.