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Syracuse Suburban Airport Co-Owner Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud

On December 18, 2014, Kenneth Coon, an owner of Syracuse Suburban Airport (SSA), Hastings, New York, was charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Syracuse, New York. Coon and others conspired to defraud a commercial bank of approximately $222,729 in connection with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airport property development grants. 

SSA purchased 93 acres in Hastings, New York, that FAA designated as a reliever airport for the Syracuse International Airport, Syracuse, New York. Between 2004 and 2009, SSA received five FAA grants totaling $2.97 million to be used for planning and development of the reliever airport. SSA had established a line of credit from First Niagara Bank (FNB) through which loan proceeds, reimbursable by the FAA grants, were to be used solely for airport expenditures. Coon and co-conspirators devised a scheme to submit false and fraudulent invoices to FNB for the release of loan proceeds to purportedly pay for airport equipment when, in reality, approximately $125,000 was diverted to an unrelated real estate project in Texas and approximately $97,604 was diverted to an unrelated bean factory, owned by Coon, in upstate New York.

We are conducting this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.