Saturday, July 12, 2014

Ex-bank executive sentenced on fraud charges

Investment officer’s lawyer claims gambling and alcohol addiction led his client to steal from investors.

April 30. 2013 12:20AM

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WILKES-BARRE — A former investment broker with PNC Bank was sentenced Monday to 42 months in federal prison on charges he swindled more than $700,000 from the bank and eight customers.

Nicholas Polito Jr., of Scranton, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo on a charge of bank fraud.

Polito’s attorneys, Patrick Casey and Lawrence Moran, blamed addictions to alcohol and gambling for why their client stole investments from eight elderly customers of PNC Bank.

Federal authorities said Polito was working as an investment broker with PNC Bank in Scranton when he stole money from 2005 to November 2011.

U.S. Assistant Attorney John Gurganus said PNC Bank repaid customers — including interests for their stolen investments. Polito repaid one customer $42,070 prior to being sentenced Monday and was ordered by Caputo to pay PNC Bank restitution of $673,349.

“The nature and circumstances of the offense is extremely serious,” Caputo told Polito, noting Polito violated the “trust” he earned from his employer and customers.

“Everything we do every day is trust,” Caputo said. “When you inject money into the situation, it is magnified. Seven or eight people would have been wiped out if PNC Bank did not compensate them.”

“I stole their money,” Polito said before being sentenced. “I lost their trust in me. I want to personally apologize. The guilt that I have will be with me for the rest of my life.”

Polito’s son, Nicholas III, said his father sought help for alcohol and gambling addictions prior to being charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in October 2012.

Nicholas III, of Connecticut, said his father had driven to his home in November 2011 to inform him about the thefts, an act that Caputo appreciated.

“That is the greatest lesson you’ll ever give him by driving to Connecticut and telling your son,” Caputo told Polito.

Caputo ordered Polito to begin serving his sentence on June 3.

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