Pittsburgh Man Pleads Guilty in Multiple Fraud Schemes
PITTSBURGH—A Pittsburgh man pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of bank embezzlement, bank fraud, mail fraud, filing a false income tax return, conspiracy and aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Joseph Graziano, Jr., 29, of Fort Pitt Boulevard, pleaded guilty to six counts in two cases before Senior United States District Judge Terrrence F. McVerry.
In connection with the guilty pleas, the court was advised that from May 12, 2008 through March 25, 2011, the defendant was employed by Bank of New York Mellon as a Corporate Trust Administrator. In this position, he had the access and ability to wire funds in and out of accounts held by the bank’s corporate trust customers. Graziano used this access to embezzle $2,441,294.35 from Bank of New York Mellon by wiring funds from the corporate trust accounts into his own bank accounts. In federal income tax returns, the defendant failed to report the embezzled funds as income. In the time before and after the defendant was employed by Bank of New York Mellon, he also engaged in schemes to defraud five other banks including Dollar Bank, First Niagara Bank, First Commonwealth Bank, Ameriserv Financial Bank and PNC Bank. In these schemes, Graziano submitted fraudulent loan documents to induce the banks to extend credit to him. Following the bank embezzlement and the bank frauds, the defendant began engaging in a new and separate scheme to defraud through the online marketplace www.ebay.com. Graziano defrauded eBay buyers by offering personal electronics for sale on eBay. After the buyers submitted payment to the defendant’s PayPal account, the defendant sent the buyers empty boxes, falsely claiming that the boxes’ contents had been stolen during shipping. After the defendant had been indicted on charges relating to those offenses, and while he was on pretrial release, he began to engage in new and separate criminal conduct. Only a few months after he was charged in the original indictment, Graziano engaged in a conspiracy to purchase counterfeit United States currency through a source in Uganda with the intent to pass the counterfeit currency at retail locations in the United States. He used a stolen identity to set up a mailbox to receive the shipments of counterfeit currency from Uganda and also attempted to open a credit card and bank accounts using the stolen identity.
Judge McVerry scheduled sentencing for May 22, 2015. The law provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of two years, a total sentence of 90 years in prison, a fine of $3,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Pending sentencing, Judge McVerry ordered that the defendant remain detained.
Assistant United States Attorney Tonya Sulia Goodman is prosecuting these cases on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation Division, Homeland Security Investigations, and the United States Secret Service conducted the investigations that led to the prosecution of Graziano.