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Orange Police Investigate Alleged Embezzlement From Ramona Savings

February 25, 1987|JAMES S. GRANELLI | Times Staff Writer

Police in Orange said Tuesday that they are investigating an alleged $100,000 embezzlement from Ramona Savings & Loan Assn., the institution seized last fall by federal regulators after its owner had pulled $2 million out of it as a dividend.

Police began the inquiry Monday into a former employee's activities after current operators of the association discovered that the funds were missing, Police Investigator Robert Gustafson said.

In a 13-month period ending May 7, a series of advances, transfers, cash withdrawals, and cashier and personal checks resulted in the withdrawal of $100,00 from the institution, according to a letter sent by George Braunegg, Ramona's acting chief financial officer, to a supervisor at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.

The Times received a copy of the letter anonymously. Neither Braunegg nor Carl Biemiller, the federal official to whom he sent the letter, were available for comment.

The employee identified in the letter as a possible suspect left the institution before regulators intensified their efforts to get owner John D. Molinaro to return the $2 million he took from the institution's capital surplus on May 9.

The Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp., which put the institution into receivership Sept. 12 and transferred its assets into a newly chartered Ramona Federal S&L, has sued Molinaro for $25 million in damages. The agency is seeking the immediate return of the $2-million dividend.

Molinaro, who was getting $30,000 to $40,000 a month in salary, contends he took the payment by relying on a certified audit for 1985 showing that Ramona had earned $4.2 million and had an $8.3-million net worth. But auditors hired by the FSLIC have since determined that Ramona lost $23.75 million that year and had a negative $19.8-million net worth.

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