Prison Term, Restitution For Bank Fraud Scheme

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WILKES-BARRE -- A former investment broker who admitted to swindling more than a half million dollars from his clients learned his fate Monday.

Nicholas Polito was an investment broker and financial consultant at PNC Bank in downtown Scranton for nearly 20 years. During his last six years, he ran something like a Ponzi scheme that stole money directly out of his clients' investment accounts. Monday in federal court, Polito learned his sentence, and we learned more about why this all happened.

Former investment broker Nicholas Polito from Dunmore will first pay with his time, and then pay almost $700,000 back to his old employer.

Polito left the federal courthouse in Wilkes-Barre trying to hide from our camera. A judge sentenced Polito to three and a half years in federal prison for bank fraud.

Polito admitted to defrauding PNC Bank in Scranton and several of his clients who were all over the age of 65. Polito admitted to taking more than $500,000 of his clients' money and depositing it directly into his own private checking account.

Attorneys say PNC Bank paid back all of Polito's ripped off clients with interest to the amount of $673,000. The judge ordered Polito to pay PNC at least $200 a month.

"I know he's remorseful. It's an addiction, it becomes your focal point and all the rules go right down the tubes," said Polito's friend Paul McNamara.

McNamara is Polito's longtime friend and Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor.  He said Polito has a serious alcohol and gambling addiction. Attorneys say, of the half million dollars Polito swindled from his clients, most of it was spent in casinos and on sports bets.

"He's heartbroken. It's an addiction, he just got carried away. It happens to a lot of people and unfortunately he's one of them."

Polito is scheduled to start serving his three and a half year sentence on June 3.

The federal judge who sentenced him said he could have received much more time behind bars. The judge said he's given longer sentences to criminals from the public sector even though they stole much less.