The vice president of the Wayne-Westland Board of Education, who is also a former candidate for US Congress, was arrested Wednesday morning by the FBI on accusations he lied to federal agents.
John Goci is accused of helping Bray's Hamburgers owner Tomo Duhanaj with concealing a loan sharking operation.
Duhanaj is accused of charging people high interest rates and even threatening violence is the loans are not repaid.
Goci appeared in court Wednesday afternoon.
He released this statement:
"I intend to fully cooperate with the FBI throughout the course of their investigation and furthermore maintain my innocence regarding this matter and expect to be vindicated of the false allegations that are being made against me."
According to a criminal complaint obtained by Local 4, Duhanaj was pulled over by Troy police in May and arrested for driving on a suspended license. During a search of his car, police found two checks with the payee line left blank. One of the checks was signed from Goci in the amount of $2,700. A sheet of paper detailing extensions of credits from February 2012 was also found. A FBI forensic accountant determined that the loans detailed on the sheet had interest rates that were high - 46 percent.
Agents met with Goci on July 17 at a Starbucks in Westland and asked if he knew that Duhanaj had been arrested. He said he had not. However, agents said a June 1 wiretap between Goci and Duhanaj revealed that Duhanaj had told Goci about his arrest.
Goci is also accused of telling agents his check was for a personal loan he had with Duhanaj and that the interest rate was 15 percent. But agents said the forensic accountant determined that the rate was in excess of 45 percent.
"The circumstances indicate that Goci lied about this interest rate to assist Duhanaj in concealing the criminality of his loan sharing operation," the complaint reads.
Goci is also accused of lying about having a conversation with Duhanaj about collaborating their stories with police.
Wayne-Westland School District statement
District Superintendent Greg Baracy issued the following statement to Local 4:
“Wayne-Westland School District was informed this morning that Board of Education member John Goci was taken into custody by the FBI. We have no further information as to the circumstances surrounding this situation; however we do not believe there is any relationship between his event and the Wayne-Westland community school district.”