Share This Page

Bank failure

| Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The case of Joseph Graziano Jr. — who has pleaded not guilty to 22 federal counts of bank fraud, bank embezzlement and mail fraud — raises serious questions about local banks' procedures for protecting their security internally and vetting borrowers.

Mr. Graziano, 28, of Pittsburgh, is accused of embezzling nearly $2.5 million over three years from Bank of New York Mellon Corp., where he began working as a corporate trust administrator after earning a University of Pittsburgh economics degree in 2008. Clearly, BNY Mellon's internal controls didn't work as they should have.

Graziano, who reportedly lived a high-roller lifestyle, also is accused of fraudulently obtaining loans. For a loan to buy his Downtown condominium, he allegedly told Dollar Bank he had more than $115,000 in a Philadelphia Federal Credit Union account. It actually contained less than $9. He allegedly obtained other loans, some to cover gambling debts, by using as collateral exotic cars he'd already sold.

Other banks he allegedly snookered include First Niagara ($226,000-plus) and First Commonwealth ($130,000). Those banks, and Dollar, obviously didn't properly vet his creditworthiness.

Graziano's alleged misdeeds should prompt all financial institutions to re-evaluate their internal and external security procedures — with an eye toward fixing what his case suggests might be not just isolated mistakes but systemic flaws.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.