WASHINGTON - The guilty plea of a former Illinois savings and loan executive on theft charges marked a milestone in the U.S. government's pursuit of people involved in the $130 billion thrift industry collapse.

The plea by Timothy M. Milligan, former president of Olympic Financial Services Corp., is apparently the government's first in connection with any of the 43 thrift failures in

A spokesman for the Resolution Trust Corp., which assisted the FBI in the Milligan investigation, said he was unaware of the indictment or prosecution of any other S&L officers or directors Illinois. The Justice Department did not respond to an inquiry.

S&L Seized in 1990

Mr. Milligan pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property while in charge of Olympic Financing a subsidiary of the former Olympic Federal Savings Association of Berwyn, Ill., which was seized in 1990.

The RTC said Mr. Milligan faces five years in prison and a $250,000 for misdirecting $190.000 in investments away from Olympic Financial through his own company, Total Investment Management Inc. of Orland Park, Ill. The RTC said the scheme allowed him to misappropriate $7,200 in commissions.

Tim Anderson, an lllinois bank consultant and a vocal critic of the Justice Department and RTC, said the Milligan conviction was significant because it was a first. Still, he contends that there are bigger fish to fry in Illinois and that the RTC and the Justice Department are less than vigorous in their pursuit of malefactors because some are politically well connected.

The RTC said that it is investigating all 43 failures and that the statute of limitations on filing lawsuits and charges has not stood in the way.

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