The former president of a Tazewell County teachers’ credit union will spend the rest of his working life trying to repay $595,745 to the business he was convicted of defrauding.

Charles Juska, 54, of Pekin, recently began serving the three-year federal prison term he received last December, after a jury convicted him of 11 crimes in the case. It was about half of the minimum term recommended by federal sentencing guidelines.

U.S. District Judge James Shadid, however, imposed the maximum amount of restitution and court costs that prosecutors sought in the case.

“The chances are slim to none,” Juska’s attorney argued, that he will be able to pay the $595,745 that Shadid set in a hearing in his Peoria federal court last Friday.

During arguments on the restitution issue in April, Joel Brown told Shadid that his client has worked as a teacher’s aide and sold hot dogs at a ball park since he was dismissed from the Tazewell County School Employees Credit Union in 2010. His wife is a teacher, Brown said.

Brown argued that Juska, the credit union’s president for 17 years, made no profit from the 11 instances of bank fraud, misapplication of credit union funds and false entry to credit union records he committed for five years before a state audit led to his dismissal.

A jury found that he concealed customers’ delinquent loans from state and federal regulators, in some cases by opening loans in other customers’ names without their knowledge, and fraudulently issued and extended dozens of loans.

Brown argued in Juska’s trial that Juska sought only to help credit union members who had fallen on hard times.

Juska told Shadid at his sentence hearing that, “I put the interests of the borrowers ahead of the credit union, and it crossed into criminality.”

The not-for-profit credit union serves about 3,000 Tazewell County public school teachers and their families, including faculty at Illinois Central College.

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