CLEVELAND, Ohio (3/8/12)--Two more people were sentenced Tuesday in a federal court in Cleveland for their roles in a $2.5 million loan fraud ring that led to the collapse of Eastlake, Ohio-based. St. Paul Croatian FCU in 2010.
Rose Ann Nikolovski, 48, of Eastlake was sentenced to one day in prison and ordered to pay $3,281,250 in restitution after pleading guilty to two counts of bank fraud. A fine was waived and she paid a special assessment of $100 at the hearing. Originally, Nikolovski, who is the ex-wife of the alleged ringleader, Koljo Nikolovski, was charged with seven counts of bank fraud and three counts of money laundering (The News Herald March 7).
Daniel Kocher, 72, of Euclid, was sentenced to one day in prison, ordered to pay $260,000 in restitution jointly and separately, and ordered to pay the $100 special assessment. His fine was also waived. He had pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud.
They were among several defendants charged with allowing illegal transfers to their loan accounts at the credit union. Indictments indicate that more than 1,000 fraudulent loans totaling more than $70 million were made to 300 account holders between 2000 and 2010 (News Now Feb. 28 and May 17).
Twelve people have been charged in the case, including the former CEO of the defunct credit union, Anthony Raguz. He pleaded guilty to issuing the loans and accepting more than $500,000 in bribes, kickbacks and gifts from those who obtained the fraudulent loans.
St. Paul Croatian was the one of the largest credit union failures in history, costing the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund $170 million. It was placed into conservatorship on April 23, 2010 and closed on the following May 1. At the time of the collapse, the credit union held $238.8 million in funds from 5,400 members. The collapse prompted lawsuits by the National Credit Union Administration to recoup some of the fund's losses.