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Former WB officer Tino Ninotti and current officer Jason Anthony among five accused of bank fraud

Last updated: August 21. 2014 5:40PM - 13856 Views
By ED LEWIS elewis@civitasmedia.com



Federal agents and state police arrested Leo Glodzik III at his home on Morgan Drive in Wilkes-Barre Thursday afternoon. The Times Leader has blurred the faces of undercover agents, at their request.
Federal agents and state police arrested Leo Glodzik III at his home on Morgan Drive in Wilkes-Barre Thursday afternoon. The Times Leader has blurred the faces of undercover agents, at their request.
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WILKES-BARRE — Towing company contractor Leo A. Glodzik and four other people, including one current and one former city police officers, have been indicted in connection with alleged bank fraud involving loans made by the Wilkes-Barre City Employees Federal Credit Union, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has said.


• Glodzik, 43, of Morgan Drive, Wilkes-Barre.


• Tino Ninotti, 35, a former city police officer.


• Jason Anthony, 34, a current city police officer.


• Amanda Magda, 30, who was the assistant manager at the credit union.


• Jeffrey Serafin, 35.


The five suspects were charged in three separate indictments related to activities of the credit union, while Glodzik also faces a witness-tampering charge, U.S. Attorney Peter Smith said.


Four of the defendants appeared today before Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick in U.S. District Court in Wilkes-Barre today. A hearing for Magda is expected to take place later today, officials said.


Ninotti, Anthony and Glodzik were released from custody and ordered to report to pretrial services.


Glodzik, who already is prohibited from leaving Luzerne County while he appeals a county theft conviction, was ordered to surrender his passport. Serafin was released on his own recognizance.


According to indictments unsealed today, prosecuors alleged that earlier this year the five “secured loans from the Credit Union by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, including the use of false collateral, the stolen identities of others who were not aware of loans in their names, and forgery.”


Smith said Magda and Anthony are charged in one indictment; Ninotti, Glodzik and Magda in a


second indictment; and Serafin alone in the third indictment.


If convicted, the defendants face up to 30 years in prison and fines in the amount of $1 million, Smith said.


According to Smith, the charges are a significant step in an ongoing corruption investigation by the FBI.


Glodzik arrested at home


FBI agents, assisted by Pennsylvania State Police and Wilkes-Barre city police raided Leo A. Glodzik’s home on Morgan Drive, off of Mayock Street, at about 11 a.m.


Glodzik was taken into custody around 11:10 a.m. and was led away in handcuffs by FBI agents and state police.


Wearing body armor, about five FBI agents entered Glodzik’s home. Two women who were in the home left in a car.


Friend of Glodzik?


Anthony is understood to be a friend of Glodzik.


Earlier this year, a Nanticoke woman, Aleksandra O’Donohue, unsuccessfully sought a Protection From Abuse order against Glodzik, claiming he had battered her during a visit to his home in April.


During a May 8 hearing before Luzerne County President Judge Thomas F. Burke Jr., O’Donohue testified that the attack happened suddenly, while she was in the bathroom. She said that then Glodzik called Anthony, whom she described as a police officer friend of Glodzik, and soon police were at the home.


“They weren’t listening to me. Next thing I know, I was getting arrested,” O’Donohue said.


Glodzik said he did not call 911, but tried the station directly. Finding the line busy, he called Anthony. That officer said he wasn’t available, and referred Glodzik to an officer who was in the area.


Glodzik maintained that he did not assault O’Donohue, and her PFA request was dismissed.


Controversial history


On Aug. 13, FBI agents swooped down on two of Glodzik’s business interests: LAG Transport in Duryea and LAG Towing on Carey Avenue, Wilkes-Barre.


FBI officials have not said why they went to those locations.


The same day, the city of Wilkes-Barre shuttered LAG Towing on Carey Avenue, declaring the building unfit for human habitation due to violating code for lack of services.


“The fire department was notified about substantial flooding in the basement of the property caused by a hole in the roof and water seeping through the walls,” city spokeswoman Liza Prokop wrote in an e-mail. “Because of the amount of water, they cut power to the building. Code enforcement was notified and they posted the notice until the issue is abated.”


Glodzik, meanwhile, is in the process of appealing a theft conviction from earlier this year.


He was charged with two counts of theft after he removed $2,100 in cash from a vehicle he towed to his city garage on Jan. 29, 2013, having been told the vehicle was involved in a drug arrest. The money was left in the vehicle as part of an FBI sting operation.


According to police, Glodzik kept $1,000 and counted out $1,100 to give to Daniel Mimnaugh, an undercover state trooper who has since retired.


A county jury on May 15 convicted Glodzik on a single count of theft while acquitting him on a second theft count.


At trial, Glodzik’s defense team, which included attorneys Joseph Sklarosky Sr. and his son, Michael Sklarosky, said the charges were held over Glodzik’s head by federal investigators looking for evidence against Wilkes-Barre city officials.


Glodzik is challenging the conviction in state Superior Court, claiming among other things that presiding Judge Lesa Gelb mistakenly allowed Mimnaugh to interpret what Glodzik meant by alleged hand gestures, and the evidence was insufficient to convict Glodzik due to the fact the undercover trooper directed him to remove and count the cash.


Prosecutors responded to the appeal by stating that they presented sufficient evidence, which resulted in the theft conviction.


Gelb on July 11 sentenced Glodzik to three to 12 months in the county correctional facility, but on July 17 allowed him to remain free on bail pending his appeal.


In a July 17 interview with The Times Leader, Joseph Sklarosky Sr. insisted that his client was not the target of a federal investigation, refuting Luzerne County First Assistant District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce’s contention at a bail hearing that morning that Glodzik was under federal investigation and “has sufficient reason to flee.”


Efforts to reach Sklarosky have been unsuccessful today.


Check back at www.timesleader.com for updates.


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