STUDIO CITY, Calif.–The police report and search warrant filed in the arrest of the CEO charged for alleged embezzlement at a credit union here show how quickly authorities sought to move out of fear the suspect might destroy evidence.
According to court documents, detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department said they were called to the offices of C B S Employees FCU by attorney Lysa Simon, who informed them the credit union suspected its CEO, Edward Rostohar, had stolen “millions” of dollars. Detectives said they met with the credit union’s board president, Douglas Edwards, who indicated on March 6, 2019, Chery Sicka, assistant manager, was looking for a copy of a check, on which a stop payment had been placed.
‘Stumbled Across Check’
“While looking for the check, Sicka stumbled across a check in the amount of $35,000 made payable to Suspect Edward Rostohar, Manager,” the police report reads. “The check did not indicate why Rostohar had received such a high dollar amount check. Sicka became concerned and conducted an audit of C B S Employees Federal Credit Union checks issued since January 18 to the present and uncovered numerous checks made payable to Rostohar. The total amount of the checks is approximately $3,775,000.00.”
The police report states Sieka noticed that all the checks payable to Rostohar contained what appeared to be the signature of Anna Nalbandyand, an MSR with the credit union, who subsequently stated she had not signed the checks and did not know why the checks were issued to Rostohar.
According to police, on March 12, 2019, Edwards, along with other C B S Employees FCU staff, had a meeting with Rostohar and presented him with a memorandum that stated “potential inappropriate conduct and irregularities in the performance of your job duties have been brought to the attention of the board of directors. An investigation has been commenced into the matter. Effective immediately, you are suspended from all of your duties as manager of the C B S Employees Federal Credit Union.”
Edwards told police Rostohar gathered all his belonging and was escorted out of the office “without saying a word.”
Later that same day two Los Angeles police officers assigned to North Hollywood Station responded to a call to 911 from a woman who said her husband had stolen money from work and was leaving the country, the report states. The phone line then disconnected. The address was 4318 Beck Avenue, Studio City, Calif., the home of Rostohar.
“Upon the officers arrival they detained suspect Rostohar without incident. Further investigation revealed Rostohar was named as a suspect on an LAPD Investigative Report,” the police report states. “Rostohar was taken to North Hollywood Station pending further investigation.”
At the North Hollywood Station two detectives said they interviewed Rostohar after reading him his Miranda rights, which Rostohar waived, and then stated he had been “stealing money from C B S Employees Federal Credit union for approximately 20 years. Rostohar said he first began by paying the monthly balances on his personal credit cards with funds from the credit union’s online accounts or forging checks. After several years, Rostohar said he was just forging Anna Nalbandyand’s signature on the credit unions checks and then depositing the checks in his personal accounts. Rostohar estimates that during the last 20 years he has probably taken more than 40 million dollars.”
‘I’m a Con’
The detectives said they further spoke with Linda Tlenlsani, wife of Rostohar, who told police they had been legally married since 2005.
According to an account from his wife, police said at approximately 9:00 in the morning on March 12, 2019, Rostohar came into their bedroom “in a panic. Rostohar stated, ‘I knew this day was coming. I’ve got to go. I have to leave the country. I’m a con. Everything is true. I don’t have time. I have to pack. I don’t want to go to jail. I’d rather die than go to jail.’”
The police report states Rostohar packed his clothes into a black carry-on luggage and another black bag and then placed them into his gray Porsche.
‘Most Honest Person She Knows’
According to Linda Tlenlsani, Rostohar added that he stole money from the credit union but failed to provide any more details. She added that Rostohar has been the credit union manager for approximately 30 years and “is the most honest person she knows,” according to the police account.
Meanwhile, in seeking a search warrant, the LAPD detective said, “It is further my belief that a search of Rostohar’s residence and forensic analysis of the computers seized from his residence, as well as other electronic media storage devices, could yield additional evidence in the above-mentioned crime.
‘Imperative to Conduct a Search’
“Rostohar has called his wife and informed her that he is in the process of bailing out of jail,” the search warrant request continues. “It is imperative that detectives conduct a search of his residence and collect any evidence as soon as possible to prevent the destruction of evidence. I, therefore, request an endorsement permitting search during the night time hours.”
With the search warrant granted, an LAPD Investigative Action/Statement Form says police arrived in a marked black and white police vehicle.
“Upon our arrival my partner met with (woman later identifies as wife) who advised officers her husband was upstairs packing his belongs to fly out of state,” the police report states. “She stated that her husband (later identified as Rostohar) had stolen money from his employer.”
Garage Door Opens
The two officers called for additional support and a supervisor, who arrived at 9:45.
“As officers were approaching the residence, the front garage door opened and the silver Porsche was reversing out of the driveway,” the officers reported. “Officers then approached the vehicle and advised the driver to turn off the vehicle and exit the vehicle pending a soft investigation. Officers entered the location to gather information regarding the incident from Rostohar’s wife. My partner and I detained Rostohar pending a theft investigation. Rostohar advised officers he was going to the store. He was recently fired from his job at the credit union.
“We advised Rostahar he was detained due to a theft investigation regarding an anonymous caller stating he stole money from his employer,” the report continues. “My partner asked Rostahar if he had money on him. Rostohar advised officers he has money in his luggage that was located inside his vehicle. The money inside his luggage was his and not his employers. Rostahar gave consent to search his vehicle’s trunk and observed three pieces of luggage. Officer Brooke observed a large amount of cash inside one of the bags in the trunk of the vehicle.”
Plans to Visit Son
“I asked Rostohar if he was going to fly somewhere today. He stated he was going to fly to Austin, Texas to see his son,” the police stated. “Rostohar advised officers he received a termination letter from his employer regarding an investigation and wanted to tell his son in person regarding the termination. Additional officers arrived at the scene.”
Rostohar was then transported to the station pending a theft investigation.