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Accountant pleads guilty in St. Paul Croatian fraud
CLEVELAND (7/9/12)--A Cleveland accountant  pleaded guilty Thursday in a federal court  to bank fraud and money laundering charges stemming from a fraudulent loan scheme that contributed to the collapse of Eastlake, Ohio-based St. Paul Croatian FCU.

Zrino Jukic, 41, is charged with providing false information in 11 loan applications that resulted in $1.7 million in proceeds, which Jukic allegedly invested in financier A. Eddy Zai's business ventures (The Plain Dealer July 5). Jukic was named in February in a 34-count bank fraud indictment involving Zai, who is accused of stealing $16.7 million in fraudulent loans from the credit union. Zai allegedly was recipient of the largest number of fraudulent loans, according to court documents.

So far, 19 people have been charged in the fraudulent loan schemes that caused one of the biggest credit union failures in U.S. history. St. Paul Croatian FCU was placed into conservatorship by the National Credit Union Administration on April 23, 2010 and was shuttered the following May 1. Its collapse cost the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund about $170 million.

The credit union's former CEO, Anthony Raguz, pleaded guilty to issuing the loans and accepting more than $500,000 in bribes, kickbacks and gifts from the borrowers. More than 1,000 fraudulent loans, totaling more than $70 million, were made to 300 account holders (News Now May 14 and 31).


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