STUDIO CITY—Federal Credit Union Manager Edward Martin Rostohar, 62, of Studio City was charged on two felony counts of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. He was arrested on March 12 and has been detained as both a flight risk and an economic danger to the community. Rostohar’s arraignment is scheduled for April 18.
“The charges against Rostohar were made in conjunction with today’s announcement by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), a federal agency that regulates credit unions, that it has liquidated CBS Employees Federal Credit Union and discontinued its operations after determining CBS Employees was insolvent with no prospect of restoring viable operations on its own. University Credit Union, located in Westwood, immediately assumed CBS Employees’ assets, loans, and all member shares,” noted the United States Attorney’s Office in a press release.
Rostohar used his position as a manager at the credit union, a federally insured financial institution, to make online payments from the credit union to himself or by forging the signature of another credit union employee on checks made payable to himself costing the credit union $40,541,130.
The alleged scheme was exposed on March 6 when a credit union employee found a $35,000 check made payable to Rostohar, and the check did not include reasoning for the dollar amount, according to court documents. The employee conducted an audit of the credit union checks issued since January 2018 and discovered $3,775,000 in checks made payable to Rostohar that contained the forged signature of another employee without the employee’s knowledge or consent. On March 12, the credit union informed Rostohar he was suspended from his job after an internal investigation uncovered “irregularities in the performance of your job duties,” according to court documents.
Rostohar’s wife contacted 911 and told the dispatcher that her husband had stolen money from work and was leaving the country. He was taken into custody and admitted that he stole money from the credit union for 20 years, beginning by paying the monthly balances on his personal credit cards with funds from the credit union’s online accounts or by forging checks, and later by forging his coworker’s signature on credit union checks and depositing them into his personal accounts, court papers state.
Rostohar explained, that his knowledge as an examiner for the National Credit Union provided leverage to easily compromise large profits without consent or accountability. Rostohar allegedly said he gambled away much of the money and spent the rest on traveling by private jet, buying expensive watches, and giving his wife a weekly allowance of $5,000. He also said he purchased two cars – a Porsche and a Tesla.
If convicted Rostohar faces a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine on the bank fraud count and a mandatory consecutive term of two years in federal prison on the aggravated identity theft count.
Written By Sanestina Hunter and Casey Jacobs