Two plead guilty in bank fraud ploy
Published - 07/18/14 - 09:40 AM | 3854 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two people have pleaded guilty to federal charges involving a $1.8 million fraudulent loan that was made by La Jolla Bank before it went out of business in 2010.

Annand Sliuman, 33, of Spring Valley, has pleaded guilty to bank bribery involving a loan to his business that was made by La Jolla Bank in May of 2008. Sliuman will be sentenced Sept. 26.

Laura Ortuondo, 33, of Cupertino, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a federal agent about her role in obtaining the loan for Sliuman, for whom she worked at the time. She will be sentenced Sept. 12.

The bank funded the $1.8 million loan after Ortuondo submitted two documents that falsely said the Internal Revenue Service had released tax liabilities and liens on one of Sliuman’s businesses.

Court records allege that Sliuman also bribed an unnamed manager at La Jolla Bank to get the loan.

La Jolla Bank loaned the Tabu Sushi business $250,000 in 2006. Later, the unnamed manager received $10,000 in cash from Sliuman initially described as a loan, according to court records. He forgave that loan in order to receive the $1.8 million loan after he gave the same manager $15,000, records say.

Ortuondo destroyed a personal computer that contained evidence of obstructing the investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney. The loan was guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

La Jolla Bank failed in February of 2010 and was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The bank had run up a debt of approximately $1 billion, according to the U.S. Attorney. It reopened as One West Bank.

Sliuman, free on $15,000 bond, faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison, although federal sentencing guidelines make that sentence unlikely. He may be required to pay restitution in place of serving a substantial prison term if he agrees to pay the money back. Records say the restitution requested is at least $2.15 million.

Ortuondo faces a maximum five-year term, but both sides have agreed to a sentence of eight months' house arrest and a $3,000 fine. Ortuondo remains free on $20,000 bond.

Sliuman owns Tabu Sushi Bar & Grill II in El Cajon, Nadir & Son, Inc., in National City, and Harvest Farms in Lancaster.

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