Former Eastlake credit union executive Anthony Raguz gets 14 years in prison for loan fraud scheme

CLEVELAND - A former credit union executive from Mentor will serve more than a dozen years in prison and pay millions in restitution for his role in a fraudulent loans scheme.

A federal judge sentenced Anthony Raguz, the former Chief Operating Officer of the St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union in Eastlake, to 14 years in prison Monday. He was ordered to pay $72.5 million, which included the $1 million he previously forfeited.

Prosecutors said Raguz issued more than 1,000 fraudulent loans totaling more than $70 million to more than 300 account holders at the credit union from 2000 to April 2010. Court documents said he also accepted more than $1 million in bribes, kickbacks and gifts in exchange for the loans.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said St. Paul went into conservatorship and then forced liquidation in April 2010, resulting in a $170 million loss to the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

In 2011, Raguz pleaded guilty to charges that included bank fraud, money laundering and bank bribery.

"The St. Paul Federal Credit Union collapse resulted in one of the largest credit union failures ever investigated in U.S. history. This complex, large-scale investigation transcended international borders and will continue until all those involved are brought to justice." said Steven Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Prosecutors said Raguz oversaw the issuing of loans given with little or no assets or income or employment history.

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