CLEVELAND (9/29/11)--The former chief operating officer of defunct St. Paul Croatian FCU, Eastlake, Ohio, Tuesday pleaded guilty to leading a loan scheme that resulted in what federal officials are calling the largest credit union failure ever. Anthony Raguz, 52, of Mentor, Ohio, pleaded guilty to six counts, including bank fraud, money laundering and bank bribery (US Fed News Sept. 27). Raguz allegedly issued more than 1,000 fraudulent loans totaling more than $70 million to more than 300 account holders at St. Paul from 2000 to April 2010, according to court documents. He accepted more than $1 million worth of bribes, kickbacks and gifts in exchange for the fraudulent loans, they said. He is one of 16 people charged in U.S. District Court for their roles in the credit union collapse. Raguz is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 4. St. Paul Croatian FCU went into conservatorship and then forced liquidation in April 2010. The failure cost the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund $170 million. Raguz allegedly originated hundreds of loans to account holders with little or no assets, income or employment history and oversaw “loan resets” in which older loans were fraudulently repaid with new loans under false names, said court documents cited by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio. The money laundering counts stem from Raguz allegedly issuing checks totaling $371,800 drawn on his St. Paul account payable to The Vanguard Group, according to court documents.