A fake attorney who swindled hundreds of inmates for phony legal services, including victims in Westchester County, will soon be joining her clients in prison.
Yesterday, a county court judge in Albany sentenced Antonia Barrone, 48, to prison for up to three years for operating a fictitious law firm and pretending to be a licensed attorney. She had pleaded guilty.Barrone’s LinkedIn profile lists her as executive director of NYS Prisoner Assistance Center in Troy, “specializing in parole matters as well as any other issue an inmate may have either in our (sic) out of custody.”
She claimed to have a law degree from New York University and a “doctor of law” in criminal justice and corrections from Schenectady County Community College.
She defrauded more than 400 people, according to a news release from state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, including hundreds of prison inmates and their families throughout New York.
Barrone handled parole appeals and other legal matters, from 2012 to April 2017, filing forged legal documents and using fake notary stamps. She wrote letters on behalf of consumers on a letterhead bearing the name of an imaginary law firm, Stacchini & Barrone Attorneys at Law, and she appropriated the name of a real attorney without that person’s knowledge.
In some cases, the attorney general said, Barrone accepted fees but did not perform any services.
She used several names, mostly male, in her scheme: Antonio Barrone, Mario Helems, T. Helems, Mario Stacchini, Mario Vrendenberg and Mark Vredenburg.
Schneiderman also filed a lawsuit against Barrone and her company. Albany County Supreme Court entered a default judgment in May, ordering her to pay a $244,500 penalty to the state and $23,428 in restitution to consumers known to have paid her for legal services.
Barrone was also sentenced to prison yesterday for up to four years on an unrelated felony conviction. She is scheduled to be sentenced in Saratoga County to up to seven years on another felony.
The bogus law firm case was investigated jointly by the attorney general’s office and the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.