August 5, 2016
Co-Owners of Upstate New York Airport Sentenced for Their Role in Bank Fraud
On August 5, 2016, Kenneth Coon and David Pizio, co-owners of Syracuse Suburban Airport (SSA), Hastings, NY, were sentenced in U.S. District Court, Syracuse, NY, to 5 years’ supervised release and joint restitution of $222,604 to First Niagara Bank (FNB).
Pizio and Coon pleaded guilty on July 24th and December 18, 2014, respectively, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airport property development grants. SSA purchased 93 acres in Hastings, designated by the FAA to be a reliever airport for Syracuse International Airport. 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 established a line of credit from FNB through which loan proceeds, reimbursable by the FAA grants, were to be used solely for airport expenditures. Pizio and Coon 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 in upstate New York.
This investigation was worked jointly with the FBI.