LOS ANGELES — A federal judge Tuesday denied a request by federal regulators to hold John L. Molinaro, former owner of Ramona Savings & Loan Assn., in contempt of court for taking millions of dollars out of the country.
The Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. sought the civil contempt order against Molinaro, who pleaded guilty last month in a related criminal case to obtaining $6.4 million in fraudulent loan proceeds from Ramona when he tried to sell the Orange-based institution in early 1986.
More than a year ago, U.S. District Judge Alicemarie Stotler had ordered Molinaro's assets frozen, pending resolution of a $40 million civil fraud suit filed against him by the FSLIC. The agency contended that Molinaro violated that freeze this year by transferring millions of dollars to his former wife and to offshore accounts in the Caribbean.
Stotler rejected the argument, saying such a move is not warranted until she knows whether Molinaro has begun to trace and return all his assets. Molinaro agreed to cooperate with federal investigators in that process as part of his plea agreement.