Pioneer Bank exposed to major fraud scheme

September 12, 2019 07:05 PM

COLONIE - It was revealed in the paperwork submitted on Wednesday to the Securities and Exchange Commission that Pioneer Bank initially loaned one of its longtime customers $16 million and that another $19 million worth of deposits is unaccounted for.

"We certainly weren't expecting fraudulent activity but we're prepared for it because that's the world that we live in," said Thomas Amell, president and CEO of the Colonie-based Pioneer Bank. "Our job is to protect depositors and shareholders so we're prepared for everything."


Amell says he's much rather focus on the company's recent public offering that raised capital, or the creation of a charitable foundation that's helping people throughout the community, but after MyPayrollHR, of Clifton Park, went belly up last week, leaving Pioneer holding the bag for a $36 million theft, it's kind of hard for him to think about anything else.

"It certainly makes it more challenging because you want to wake up in the morning and focus on all the positive things we have done in this financial institution," he said.

Meanwhile, State Senator Jim Tedisco (R - Glenville), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, says legislative intervention in the MyPayrollHR demise is "most likely."

"We do a lot of regulating and a lot of mandating and a lot of oversight," Tedisco said. "Most of the time we say that's too much for our small businesses, but are we doing enough for some of the businesses?"

Unfortunately, future oversight comes a little too late for Pioneer Bank.

"There's a number of remedies we will follow to recoup any losses we may incur," Amell stated.

Amell says he is cooperating fully with federal investigators.

Senator Tedisco says the MyPayrollHR demise "illustrates that anybody and everyone is vulnerable to computer hacking." All the more reason, he believes, for some government oversight or intervention down the road.


WNYT Staff

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