Church Lost $150,000 Of Uninsured Deposits In Cleveland CU Failure

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CLEVELAND – NCUA last week refused an appeal by St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church to pay $151,000 of uninsured deposits it had with St. Paul Croatian FCU, a one-time $240 million credit union that collapsed under the weight of a big fraud a year ago.

The Slovenian church is the latest among a growing number of victims in the massive fraud, projected to cost NCUA some $170 million to resolve. Last month NCUA denied appeals from Cascade FCU of Kent, Wash., for $251,000 in uninsured deposits, and by Acme FCU of the same Eastlake, Ohio, community of the credit union, for $127,000 in uninsured CDs. Another credit union, Employees CU of Dallas, was denied a smaller amount.

NCUA said federal deposit insurance coverage will reimburse the church for only $250,000 of the $401,000 it had on deposit with the credit union. The church, said NCUA, “is not entitled to the remaining balance of its account, $151,219, because payout of said remainder would permit coverage in excess of the share insurance limit.”

For the same reason, NCUA rejected appeals by two other individual members of the failed credit union, adding the growing list of victims of St. Paul Croatian FCU.

The credit union’s CEO Anthony Raquez, has been charged in a federal indictment with accepting more than $500,000 in kickbacks in exchange for approving loans to unqualified individuals who had no intention of repaying the funds. One those charged is a purported crime figure, Koljo Nokolovski, who authorities say wired $2.5 million from the loans to accounts at a bank in Skopje, Macedonia, where he allegedly leads a local criminal gang. Nikolovski’s wife and nephew also were charged with accepting the bogus loans.

NCUA took over the Cleveland credit union on April 23 last year, then liquidated it less than a week later amid signs that a massive fraud had erased tens of millions of dollars of its capital. The loss is one of the biggest ever for a natural person credit union.


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