John Goci, Wayne-Westland school board member who made an unsuccessful run for a congressional seat earlier this month, was charged with lying to federal agents, according to documents unsealed in federal court today.

The businessman was arrested this morning, made his initial court appearance and was released on bond, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The allegations against Goci, who lost to Democratic U.S. Rep. Cheap Nike Air Max John Conyers in the primary, resulted from an investigation into high-interest loans. According to court documents, federal agents believe Goci obtained a loan for $30,000 and paid more than 45% interest on it. Goci was interviewed by federal agents in July and said he paid 15% interest, the documents state.

Authorities said Goci received the loan from businessman Tomo Duhanaj, who also was charged with lying to federal agents.

“The circumstances indicate that Goci lied about this interest rate to assist Duhanaj in concealing the criminality of his loan sharking operation,” a court document said.

Goci, vice-president of the Wayne-Westland Board of Education, called the allegations against him false. He told the Free Press that he received a $30,000 loan, but said he didn’t get it from Duhanaj and paid 15% interest on it.

“I know I’m innocent,” he said. “I look forward to defending myself and being vindicated.”

He said he intends to fully cooperate with the FBI throughout their investigation.

Duhanaj’s attorney Sanford Schulman said his client maintains his innocence and denies any wrongdoing. He said Duhanaj was charged with lying even though he was telling the truth.

Wayne-Westland Community Schools Superintendent Gregory Baracy said he wouldn’t speculate on how the allegations may impact Goci’s school board seat. Baracy called Goci’s arrest a “terrible distraction” to the school district.

“I want to assure the staff, parents and students of the Wayne-Westland Community School District that this distraction and Mr. Goci’s arrest and personal issues will not impact the daily operations of this school district,” Baracy said in a statement.

Contact Elisha Anderson: 313-222-5144 or eanderson99@freepress.com




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