Five charged in $33M loan scam targeting Mahoning County busines - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

The scam involved 55 vehicles, including classic cars

Five charged in $33M loan scam targeting Mahoning County business

Posted: Updated:
Haki Toplica Haki Toplica
SPRINGFIELD TWP., Mahoning Co., Ohio -

A federal grand jury has charged five people from New York with taking part in a phony loan scheme to bilk a Mahoning County business owner out of $138,000.

Twenty-four-year-old Haki Toplica of Staten Island, NY has been in the county jail since late September when Springfield Township police arrested him on charges of theft from an elderly person and auto theft.

A federal grand jury on Wednesday handed up a nine-count indictment against Toplica, Luisa Goris,22, Kathryn DeLaTorre, 24, Haider Islam, 21, and Robert Russo, 27.

Charges include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen property.

According to an affidavit, Toplica convinced the 69-year-old alleged victim to fork over $138,000 in fees and titles to 55 vehicles including tractors, a motor home, trailers, dump trucks, several restored classic vehicles, and a Ford Mustang to secure loans he needed to downsize his company.

The affidavit does not name the business, but according to state records, the alleged victim operates Edan Farms of Springfield Township, which supplies tractors and drivers for FedEx.

The indictment says Toplica, masquerading under the name Harry Cohen, offered the victim loans of $475,000, $3 million, and $10 million, and $20 million, none of which the victim ever received.

In September, Toplica allegedly told the victim that he was on his way to deliver the ten-million-dollar loan to the business owner when he was pulled over by a “dirty cop” in Pennsylvania who stole the money from him.

Toplica was pulled over in August by State Police in Clarion County for speeding. At that time police seized $27,070 Toplica was carrying.

The four others named in the indictment allegedly played various roles in the scheme including setting up bank accounts to receive the victim's money and to take the titles to his vehicles.

The indictment asks the court to collect $172,289 from the accused, as well as the $27,000 confiscated by Pennsylvania State Police.

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