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Former Executive Pleads Innocent to Taking $2.5 Million in Bribes

February 15, 1991

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ A former executive of the defunct City Federal Savings Bank pleaded innocent Friday to charges he took more than $2.5 million in kickbacks.

William Spagnoli, 48, of Holmdel, was indicted by a federal grand jury last month on 30 charges outlined in four conspiracy counts, including bank fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and receiving illegal payments as a bank officer.

Spagnoli is accused of taking the bribes in exchange for approving more than $338 million in residential development loans.

Spagnoli remained free Friday on $1 million bail. The bail is secured by condominiums, insurance policies and brokerage accounts the government is trying to seize as part of the criminal case, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Weissman.

Spagnoli’s attorney, Justin P. Walder, said his client was innocent.

″At no time did Spagnoli ever receive a bribe in consideration for which loans were granted to these various borrowers,″ Walder said in a telephone interview after the 20-minute hearing. ″He had no authority to grant a loan.″

U.S. District Judge Maryanne Trump Barry scheduled the trial to begin June 3. If convicted, Spagnoli faces more than 100 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines, prosecutors said.

Spagnoli was removed as the senior vice president of City Federal in October 1989. Two months later, City Federal was taken over by the federal Resolution Trust Corp. It posted losses of $1 billion that year.

On Feb. 5, four developers pleaded guilty to paying Spagnoli more than $2 million in bribes in exchange for his help in approving about $222 million in loans for projects in Monmouth County. Four others were named as co- conspirators but have not been indicted.

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