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News Now

CU System
Bail denied in defunct CU fraud
CLEVELAND (1/13/11)--U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth McHargh for the Northern District of Ohio, denied bail for Koljo Nikolovski--an Eastlake, Ohio, man who has been indicted and charged with bank fraud and money laundering stemming from the collapse last April of St. Paul Croatian FCU, based in Eastlake. “Yes, the judge ordered him held,” Mike Tobin, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach’s office in Cleveland, confirmed to News Now. Nikolovski, 48, who has residences in Eastlake and in Skopje, Macedonia, was indicted by a federal grand jury Jan. 5 for fraudulently obtaining $2.5 million in loans and placing the money in a personal bank account before wiring about $2.3 million of the proceeds to a bank in Skopje (Cleveland Plain Dealer via Cleveland.com Jan. 5). The newspaper reported that the indictment said Nikolovski was not eligible for the loan because he previously defaulted on more than $1 million in loans. It alleged he paid cash bribes and kickbacks to the credit union’s CEO Anthony Raquez to influence him to issue the fraudulent loans. It also said that the CEO--who has not been charged with any crime--reset the loans when they defaulted. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Office of the Inspector General (IG) revealed in October that the fraudulent loans put the credit union into liquidation, with losses to the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund totaling $170 million (News Now Oct. 14). The IG report also noted that the CEO “manipulated loan records and masked the suspected loan fraud by constantly refinancing certain loans or making advance payment on those loans.” St. Paul Croatian FCU was placed into conservatorship April 23 and closed May 1. At the time of its closing, it held $238.8 million in funds from 5,400 members (News Now May 4).


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