AKRON, Ohio (1/14/13)--A Cleveland accountant is the latest person to receive a prison sentence for working with a loan fraud ring that brought about the 2010 collapse of the St. Paul Croatian FCU in Eastlake, Ohio.
Zrino Jukic, 42, was sentenced Thursday in an Akron federal court to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution totaling $1.7 million for his role in what is said to be the largest failure in credit union history. He pleaded guilty in July to one count of bank fraud and one count of money laundering (The Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com Jan. 11).
Jukic was co-owner of the Zlatko Group, along with the credit union's CEO, Anthony Raguz, who took $1 million in kickbacks, bribes and gifts for issuing more than 1,000 fraudulent loans that involved 300 accountholders.
Jukic allegedly used false information on 11 loan applications totaling $1.7 million that was funneled through their company and invested in the business ventures of Pepper Pike financier A. Eddy Zai, who pleaded guilty to stealing $16.7 million in loans, said the Plain Dealer.
Raguz was sentenced to 14 years in prison, and Zai is to be sentenced Feb. 5. Jukic's sentencing was delayed while he testified against other defendants. Police made more 24 arrests in the case.
The now defunct St. Paul Croatian FCU cost the National Share Insurance Fund more than $170 million.