Ramona and the rug man

Rug salesman John L. Molinaro and partner Donald P. Mangano, owner of a construction company, were permitted a charter to open Ramona S&L in April of 1984. Shortly thereafter, once deposits had been garnered, Ramona made loans "to condominium construction projects being built by Mangano and Sons construction company." Condominiums whose floors were later carpeted by carpets from Molinaro's carpet store. (Pizzo, page 23.)

Ramona collapsed two years later costing the regulatory authorities, the FSLIC, $70 million to reimburse the deposits to their rightful owners. About a year after Ramona's collapse, John L. was apprehended leaving the US on a dead man's passport, on his way to the Cayman Islands, south of Cuba. $3 million had already been deposited by Molinaro in a bank on the island, First Cayman Bank, he later admitted.

When investigators had a look, diamonds, gold and millions of dollars in cash were found.

Follow up references:

Pizzo, Stephen, Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, McGraw Hill Publishing Company, 1989.

Copyright: Phil Anderson, 2004

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