David Pizio, 58, Jamesville, New York, entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court to the felony offense of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. The defendant is facing a statutory maximum of 30 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000,000.00.
Pizio is scheduled to be sentenced on December 5, 2014, before the Honorable David N. Hurd in Utica, NY.
During the plea hearing on July 24, 2014, Pizio admitted he was one of the owners of Syracuse Suburban Airport, LLC (“SSA”). In 2004, SSA purchased a 93 acre reliever airport site in Hastings, New York for $350,000.00. Between 2004 and 2009, SSA received five Federal Aviation Administration grants totaling approximately $2,973,621.00 to be used for planning and development at the reliever airport in Hastings.
On April 29, 2005, SSA obtained a line of credit from First Niagara Bank in the amount of $650,000.00. The line of credit agreement stated that the loan proceeds were to be used by SSA only for airport expenditures reimbursable by the FAA through the grants. The line of credit agreement specifically listed David Pizio as one of the persons authorized to make requests for loans under the line of credit. Pizio was authorized to sign for all bank accounts bearing the name of SSA, including the First Niagara line of credit.
On December 13, 2005, Pizio submitted an invoice to First Niagara Bank for the release of loan proceeds in the amount of $125,000.00 for the purchase of airport equipment. On that same day, First Niagara Bank transferred $125,000.00 into SSA’s checking account at First Niagara Bank. Pizio never intended to use the $125,000.00 to purchase airport equipment. Instead, Pizio invested the $125,000.00 in a Texas real estate project without the knowledge or consent of First Niagara Bank.
Richard S. Hartunian, United States Attorney, Northern District of New York announced the guilty plea.
This prosecution resulted from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The case
was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ransom P. Reynolds. Further questions may be directed to Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney John Duncan at (315-448-0672).