CLEVELAND A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a 42-year-old Cleveland accountant to 37 months in prison and ordered him to repay $1.7 million for his role in the 2010 collapse of St. Paul Croatian FCU, the biggest credit union fraud ever.
Zrino Jukic pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud and money laundering last July. His sentencing had been delayed while he testified against his other defendants in the massive fraud, which will cost NCUA more than $185 million to resolve.
Jukic was charged in the case against Cleveland financier A. Eddy Zai, who had pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $19 million of loans from St. Paul Croatian. Zai is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 5.
Jukic was co-owner of the Zlatko Group along with Anthony Raguz, the credit union’s CEO and mastermind of the fraud. Jukic defrauded the credit union by using false information in 11 applications that resulted in $1.7 million on proceeds that Jukic and Raguz funneled through their company and invested in some of Zai’s business ventures. Jukic also engaged in money laundering by transferring fraudulently obtained loans from a Zlatko Group bank account to his personal bank account, according to court documents. Raguz was sentenced to 14 years in prison last year and ordered to repay $72.5 million as restitution.
To date 29 people have been charged in the fraud that sunk the one-time $240-million credit union, and more indictments are possible since the case is still under investigation.